I've been going back to some of 2009's freshest music, and man, does last year make this year look weak as hell.
2010 = Weak (by their standards) followups by established acts (Spoon, the Hold Steady, Band of Horses), and very few complete, fully-realized debuts (the exception being Surfer Blood, and maybe Tame Impala), and some disappointing to mildly good sophomore efforts [Vampire Weekend, (second half of) Yeasayer's album], with the exception being Titus Andronicus's "The Monitor." Some good, but not career-highlight albums by LCD Soundsystem and Black Keys, fill out my best-of the year list only because of lack of competition.
Beach House's superb "Teen Dream" doesn't fit in any of these categories. It's still really good, though. And my initial distaste and resistance for Ariel Pink is wearing off.
2009 = Several breakout sophomore (or later) albums (St. Vincent, Phoenix, Animal Collective, YACHT, White Rabbits, etc), several incredible debuts by bands with terrible names (Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Girls, Japandroids, The XX, Neon Indian) and plenty of good workman-like records from M. Ward, Dinosaur Jr., Yo La Tengo, The Thermals, Black Lips, The Decemberists and The Flaming Lips, among others.
In retrospect, Wilco's self titled record still stands as a disappointment, outside of a few tracks.
2010 may yet be redeemed by Deerhunter. The first single and B-side from "Halcyon Digest," available in an older posting, point towards great things.