17. Mineral, 'The Power of Failing' (1997)
Plenty of musicians treated Sunny Day Real Estate like a blueprint and sported their fandom like a badge of honor – but the ones who wore it best were these four youngsters in Austin. While SDRE aimed for the sky, Mineral stretched themselves even further. They pushed their musical ability to their breaking point, occasionally falling short of the dramatic crests they hoped to attain – the conviction, however, makes the attempts all the more alluring. Mineral's hero worship sometimes threatens to blot out their voice – "80-37" opens with a downcast melody eerily similar to SDRE's "Seven" – but they had the good sense to mine shoegaze for euphoria. When Mineral crank up the distortion on "Gloria" and "Parking Lot" The Power of Failing feels bigger than the band that created it – and even the group that came before. L.G.