In no particular order:
The Fall, The Unutterable, 2000. A fabulous release from The Fall because it still had all the acid of Mark E. Smith's vocals, but also weaves in new techno sounds not heard from them before.
John Cale, Hobo Sapiens, 2003. I love John Cale, especially lps like Carribean Sunset. HS sets a mood and sustains it throughout this release.
Michael Franti and Spearhead, Everyone Deserves Music, 2003. Franti has come a long way since Disposable Heroes of Hiphopracy. This album tones down his anger, but not completely. Great summer day listening.
Liars, The Threw Us in a Trench and Built a Monument on Top, 2002. One of the few east coast bands that grabbed me and shook my head off my neck with their raw guitars and disco grooves. One fine original band.
Robyn Hitchcock, Spooked, 2004. Hitchcock's work with Gillian Welch is superb and it makes me happy other audiences might hear Robyn due to Welch. That man just has a way with lyrics — solo or Softboyed.
Underworld, A Hundred Days Off, 2002. My first exposure to Underworld. A techno band that breaks the repetitive mold of techno. Shades of Steven Reich are even on a tune. Plus, it's a fabulous driving album. (Hi SLC!)
Cheapglue, Sexy Horses, 2002. Johnny Glue hails from England (anyone? anyone over there know of him?). It's a pop album all about love and life stuffs, but it has its own identity... think '60s psych pop and '80s wave and smush 'em, then you're close to their sound.
Once More with Feeling, s/t, 2002. Yup, the soundtrack to the musical episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." It makes me laugh and cry, plus it has bonus score tracks by Christophe Beck, which is just fab. (And I do not care if this is not a band/solo artist release, so there!!)
Drums of Death, DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid and Dave Lombardo Present..., 2005. Hands down fave release of this year so far. I've already babbled on this one, but it must be noted that Chuck D and Vernon Reid appear and, DAMN!! some fine jam tracks too.
Honorable mention: Radio 4, Stealing of a Nation, 2004.
Gang of Four will have a brand new release this year and I predict that I will add it to my fave list, I've got a gut feeling.
P.S. Bauhaus and Bloc Party both played the Coachella festival this year, both bands were on at the same time. From what I read, Bauhaus blew Bloc Party outta the water when they opened with Bela, complete with Peter Murphy hanging upside down like a bat while singing the entire song. The writer then said, who needed Coldplay after that wayback Bauhaus thrill. Looks like the grey-haired/walker using bands still rule.
It is my opinion and I am unanimous in this, because it is my opinion, which is, in fact, mine.