As we wave goodbye to 2008, we look back at our picks for best albums of the year. It was a good year for music, but not a great one by any stretch. There were plenty of albums that we liked-- loved even-- but there wasn't that one album that brought us to our knees, that we found so compelling we couldn't stop playing it over and over.

That said, each of the albums below made us smile, providing us with hours of enjoyment., and maybe that's the best you can hope for in these troubled times.  Like many folks, we were bitten by the British bug. Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" tops our list (if for nothing else, the gorgeous title track) and three leading U.K. ladies of song made the cut. Kate Walsh hasn't had the success on these shores experienced by Duffy and Adele, but she's well worth checking out. 
Both My Morning Jacket and Hold Steady pump out straight-ahead rock-no gimmicks, just strong, melodic songs pumped through guitar-driven pistons. Country often gets short-shrift in year-end lists, but we heard originality and heart both in Rodney Crowell's and Jamey Johnson's latest.

And what best-of-2008 list is complete without Lil Wayne? The man was simply everywhere this past year. I'm convinced he would have appeared on my CD if I'd put one out. It seems like all you have to do is ask and, quite frankly, we dig that vibe.

For the complete Top 10 list, read The Beat Goes On.