As I do this, I have noticed I have been in a bit of a rut (not as bad as the one Paste Magazine is in with a bad #1 and all white people). However, my list so far is lacking diversity. This was not a great year for hip hop (Wayne not withstanding) and good pop in general. It was much weaker than 06 and 07 and many of the better albums fit into the same category (pastoral folk with flourished of alt country). That said, I will try to diversify (there will be some surprises).
Contenders for the lists I am working through presently include (and all come highly recommended, esp if they are not on your list):
Blitzen Trapper (they will have a top 3 song), Duffy, Beyonce (seriously- at least for song), Q-Tip, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Frightened Rabbit, Will Quinlan and the Diviners, Have Gun Will Travel, What Made Milwaukee Famous (def for song), Death Cab for Cutie, Ra Ra Riot, Vampire Weekend, Guns and Roses, Santogold, TV on the Radio, My Morning Jacket, Okkervil River, Shearwater, Coldplay (seriously? who knows?), R.E.M., Al Green, The Dodos, The Walkmen, She Keeps Bees, Plants and Animals, The Firemen, Nas, Jason Mraz, Kanye West, MIA(single), Common (single), the Notwist, Max Richter, Nick Cave, M83, Ratatat, The Magnetic Fields, Jenny Lewis, The Hold Steady, Gaslight Anthem, The Flobots, MGMT, Ben Folds, Emily Haines, Basia Bulat, Elbow, Firewater, British Sea Power, Eef Barzelay, Devotchka, Deerhunter, Crystal Stilts, Gnarls Barkley, Coner Oberst, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Anathallo, Paavoharju, Coulour Revlot, Cold War Kids, Metallica, Portishead, Los Campesinos, Drive By Truckers, Sam Phillips, Underoath, Starf___ (at least for single), Rapheal Saadig, Of Montreal, Ne-Yo, Bloc Party, Deerhoof, Rodney Crowell, Dead Confederate, Department of Eagles, Mogwai, Murs, Sun Kil Moon, Mountain Goats, Kate Nash, Adele, Radiohead, King's of Leon (at least for song), Hot Chip, Noah and the Whale, Sigur Ros, Lambchop, Estelle, Thao, K'naan, Cut Copy, Black Mountain, Girl Talk, Grails, Beck, She & Him, Destroyer, Lil Wayne, Flight of the Conchords, The Tallest Man on Earth and Amanda Palmer
As you can see, it is overwhelming and not everything will be properly judged. plus, I am sure there are some serious blind spots on this list. If you see something (song, album) I have not included that should be seriously considered, let me know.