Album: Interpol, Interpol (Matador)

They ought to call it the Interpol Paradox: the harder the New Yorkers try to evoke gravitas, the better the end result functions as mood music; the more heartfelt Paul Banks' vocal, the more existential the lyric; the more portentous the bassline, the more you can listen to it as a flatteringly grandiose soundtrack to your own tribulations.

Of course, if he knew preople used his music this way, Banks would be mortified – enough, perhaps, to write another album of exquisitely anguished atmospherics.