My favourite albums of the decade, 26-50

Part three - one more to go. I know you're excited. As before, links go to Spotify, where available, images link to Amazon.

26. Akron/Family - Set Em Wild/Set Em Free (2009)
Pastoral folk, rock freak-outs and experimentation are all, by turns, scattered through this album. It's a recent discovery for me, and one I like a lot, but I don't know how it will fare as I spend more time with it.

27. Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask (2005)
Danger Mouse has been one of the key musical figures of the decade as far as I'm concerned. While The Grey Album, Gnarls Barkley and his work with Gorillaz don't feature on this list (though all of it easily could) some of his quirkier releases do. This one, with rapper MF Doom, is based on cartoons from Adult Swim. It's very funny and very catchy.

28. The Coup - Pick a Bigger Weapon (2006)
More funny, catchy hip hop, this time with strong element of funk. The Coup sound like a politically-charged Outkast. Get That Monkey Off Your Back and I Love Boosters are the highlights.

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29. Venetian Snares - Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett (2005)
I'm not a huge drum n bass fan but this album, which adds elements of Bartok, Stravinsky and Mahler to an electronic background, is fantastic. Hajnal is the stand-out track.

30. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend (2008)
A strange mix of US college indie and Afropop, Vampire Weekend's debut is a success primarily because the songs are so catchy. The best tracks are the first three, which can leave the rest of the album feeling like a letdown but it remains a very good record.

31. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (2005)
It looked like Conor Oberst was going to crossover to the mainstream with this album, which refines his typical folk-tinged, social commentary college rock. The lyrics are frequently heavy-handed and Oberst is at his best when he lays off the politics, as on Lua and The First Day of My Life. However, the songs here are so well constructed that he even gets away with a cheeky re-write of Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

32. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
The Soft Bulletin, released in 1999, was a hard act to follow but The Flaming Lips arguably bettered it with Yoshimi. It mixes everything that's best about the band - experimental flights of fancy, quirky pop and lyrics that are idealistic without being trite or patronising. These songs somehow embed themselves inside you.

33. Missy Elliott - Under Construction (2002)
The second of three albums released in just 31 months between 2001 and 2003. All three are great but this one, which contains both Gossip Folks and Work It, is the best. Had Elliott combined the best of the tracks from Miss E..., Under Construction and This Is Not A Test into one album, it would easily have been among the very best of the decade. Nevertheless, you should still listen to all three.

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34. Sigur Ros - Takk (2005)
By the time this came out, Sigur Ros had lost the element of surprise. Their haunting, unearthly sweeping songs had become relatively familiar. In a way that makes Takk more of an achievement. Unable to get by on the fact that nobody had heard anything like them before, this record shows they're perfectly able to make it on the strength of their songs, a strength exemplified by the fact that even your granny has heard Hoppipolla, though she may not know it.

35. Roots Manuva - Awfully Deep (2005)
The best album from the man with one of the best voices in rap. This is his darkest album, product of a breakdown of sorts. Thankfully he seems to have come out the other side, if the chirpiness of last year's Slime and Reason is any indication but as is so often the case, a little torment makes for a great album.

36. Danger Mouse and Jemini - Ghetto Pop Life (2003)
This was how I first heard Danger Mouse. There's nothing challenging about this album but it remains one of my favourite hip hop records. It has a great sense of humour - a choir singing "I'm giving bitches good dick" on the title track, for example, or the ironic Don't Do Drugs with its "Whitney's chillin', Bobby's chillin', let's get high cos we love the feelin'" refrain. However, it's DM's production that lifts it out of the ordinary, particularly on Medieval.

37. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha (2007)
I wasn't sure how high to put Andrew Bird or whether to choose this album over its more experimental predecessor, The Mysterious Production of Eggs. If even I can't agree with myself, what hope do you have? Still, I'm going for this because it was the album that introduced me to Bird. It's his most accessible record but still displays plenty of his quirks, not least the distinctive violin loops that underpin most songs. Oh, and there's whistling but that shouldn't put you off.

38. The Cool Kids - The Bake Sale (2008)
It's impossible not to fall in love with an album that opens with a spoken beat - "tick, tick, clap, tick, tickticktick, clap". This is technically an EP but it runs to more than half an hour and if you like hip hop from the late Eighties and early Nineties then you'll love this.

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39. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (2005)
Sufjan Stevens is going to have to get a move on if he's to complete his project of making an album about every state in the USA. This is only his second and he still hasn't got round to a third. This feels more upbeat than the first in the series, Michigan, with big coils of brass springing their way through many of the songs. The subject matter is often dark, as on the mesmerising John Wayne Gacy, Jr, but Stevens usually brings in a burst of silliness to dispel the gloom.

40. Bole 2 Harlem - Bole 2 Harlem Vol. 1 (2006)
Mixing New York hip hop with traditional Ethiopian music, this album feels at once familiar and strange. It's an exuberant album, filled with great hooks. Sadly, there's unlikely to be a second volume - singer Tigist Shibabaw died early last year.

41. The Roots - Game Theory (2006)
The Roots are one of the best bands working today and they've developed their sound impressively over the course of the four albums they've released this decade. This is the strongest - a dark, complex record that samples Sly and the Family Stone, Public Enemy and Radiohead.

42. Four Tet - Rounds (2003)
Kieren Hebden's second appearance on this list (Fridge was at 91), this is a very listenable collection of lo-fi, melodic electronica.

43. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale (2006)
Given Ghostface's work rate over the last decade, the quality of his output has been amazing. Drawing influences from experimental hip hop - both Dilla and Doom worked on this record - Ghostface adds his own idiosyncratic world view and a complete disregard for the mainstream.

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44. Hanne Hukkelberg - Rykestrasse 68 (2006)
An extraordinary album. Norwegian songwriter Hanne Hukkelberg has a quirky sound with jazz and folk influences and the occasional burst of weird instrumentation - a typewriter, for example. It's a strange mix but it suits the songs perfectly, particularly on her flawless cover of the Pixies' Break My Body.

45. Mos Def - The Ecstatic (2009)
After his excellent 1999 debut, Black on Both Sides, Mos Def spent most of the decade floundering. He was seemingly more interested in his acting career than his music. After two mediocre efforts, this year saw a return to form with The Ecstatic. It's not as good as his debut but it shows that Mos Def can still make great records when he puts his mind to it.

46. DeVotchKa - A Mad and Faithful Telling (2008)
Despite the central European touches, DeVotchKa are actually from Denver. The fusion works seemlessly and the songs here are amazingly catchy.

47. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part One (2008)
This is a world away from the neo-soul with which Badu made her name. It's experimental and often downright weird, adding elements of hip hop and electronica to Badu's brilliant vocals.

48. Dirty Projectors - Rise Above (2007)
A cover of Black Flag's album Damaged, recorded largely from memory after Dave Longstreth found an empty Black Flag cassette box in his attic, or so the story goes. The result is weird but fascinating, whether you know the Black Flag original or not.

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49. Lyrics Born - Later That Day (2003)
Japanese-American rapper Lyrics Born has an excellent voice and is part of the west coast scene that also includes DJ Shadow and Blackalicious. This album is full of wry humour, catchy songs and great beats.

50. Hazmat Modine - Bahamut (2007)
Hazmat Modine are known as a blues band but that's only because they're so hard to classify. The band uses instruments that you wouldn't expect in blues music, including the tuba and the saxophone, and brings in musical influences from all over the world. The result is sublime.