1. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories – The last days of disco are no longer the end, as the duo that foresaw the future a decade before EDM took over the musical mainstream looked to the past to stay ahead of the game.  Despite hiding behind the robot masks, Daft Punk have always been about finding the humanity in an increasingly digitized world.  RAM served as a manifesto about how the sensational wonders of analog still exist and can be streamlined into a landscape of bleeps and bloops.
Key Tracks: “Contact,” “Get Lucky,” “Giorgio By Moroder,” “Touch”
2. Lorde – Pure Heroine – The best debut album in a good long while.  Lorde is a true individual: a definite pop star with a real rockin’ attitude and heavy hip-hop and R&B influences.
Key Tracks: “Royals,” “A World Alone,” “White Teeth Teens”
3. HAIM – Days Are Gone – With the way they play their guitars like percussion instruments, the HAIM sisters know from HARD rock.  Their melodies may conjure a mellow California sunset, but they are by no means softies.
Key Tracks: “Falling,” “The Wire,” “My Song 5”
4. Kanye West – Yeezus – This is like Kanye’s primal scream therapy.
Key Tracks: “Black Skinhead,” “Bound 2,” “On Sight”
5. David Bowie – The Next Day – Bowie proves that it is not the age of the individual but the individual himself that determines the urgency of a creative output.  He sounds more reinvigorated than he has in decades, with the songs themselves conveying that invigorating theme.
Key Tracks: “The Next Day,” “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” “Love Is Lost”
6. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork – Josh Homme is a craftsman.  Every note on …Like Clockwork sounds like it is played and produced to as fine a specification as possible.  Add to that Homme’s passionate tenor and playful lyrics (“gitchy gitchy ooh la la”), and you’ve got a band that understands the sonic experience unlike any other.
Key Tracks: “If I Had a Tail,” “Keep Your Eyes Peeled,” “I Sat by the Ocean”
7. Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time – In the portion of her career before her debut album, Sky Ferreira seemed like one of those New Age-y, self-employed, entrepreneurial types (I’m not sure if I’m picking the right words exactly, but hopefully you catch my drift) who was always looking for “her sound.”  Her non-album singles kept presenting a new identity, and now the end result is Night Time, My Time: a mix of sounds, from a more confident singer who has finally learned that diversity can define a singular identity.
Key Tracks: “You’re Not the One,” “Omanko,” “Heavy Metal Heart,” “I Blame Myself”
8. Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob – This bubbly confection sounds like the pop breakthrough Tegan and Sara have always wanted to have – they were just waiting for the right budget, or the right career moment, or the right whatever, to make it happen.
Key Tracks: “Closer,” “I Was a Fool,” “Drove Me Wild”
9. Avicii – True – While Daft Punk got EDM in touch with its roots, Avicii explored every permutation of its present.
Key Tracks: “Wake Me Up!”, “You Make Me,” “Dear Boy”
10. Arcade Fire – Reflektor – With this unwieldy, hard-to-pin-down double album, Arcade Fire certainly didn’t make it easy for their casual fans and guaranteed that their detractors would not be won over.  But Reflektor becomes a good bit of plain old fun once you stop trying to figure out “what it is.”
Key Tracks: “Reflektor,” “Joan of Arc,” “Here Comes the Night Time”

Honorable Mention: I haven’t listened to all of Disclosure’s Settle, but based on what I have heard from it, I think it would have made this list had I listened to all of it.