Best modern music of 2009: So far

Every year, I buy dozens and dozens of records that represent the annual crop of new music.  By new music, I mean original-cool-indie or breakthrough (any genre twist will do).  My search is bigger than just trolling for great songs — I'm looking for the spirit of the times.  (Check out my 2008 picks.) 

The 2009 crop of records is bountiful in innovation, vibe, meaning and groove.  Here are the top three albums of the year, so far.  I picked these because they are chocked full of good songs, so you'd want to buy the record and not just pick off a few songs via iTunes.  

This is one of the best UK releases in years.  I read about the new CD via New Music Express when I was in the UK earlier this year.  These kids are ruling the summer festival circuit in Europe.  If you loved Blur's Think Tank, you'll love this record even more.  I can't decide which track is the best.  At first, the opening track Underdog had me hooked.  Later, I fell in love with Vlad The Impaler.  Now, I am digging every track.  

A friend of mine that works at 800-CEO-READ told me about this band back in April.  Then I heard about them from two other trusted taste makers: a good sign.  This Scottish group plays well with fellow country musicians Belle & Sebastian.  Think Portishead meets Dusty Springfield.  French Navy and Away With Murder are on my Best Of 2009 iTunes playlist.  I love it when retro is innovated into futuristic.  

This LA indie band's second record continues to hold up well listen after listen.  Check out my earlier review of the album for more details.  

Best singles of the year, so far (good for iTunes): 
Obits: Widow Of My Dreams (think Strokes meets Iggy Pop) 
Metronomy: A Thing For Me (fun electro-clash story) 
Peter, Bjorn and John: Nothing To Worry About (best track on the record)