Last weekend I picked up Sufjan Stevens' latest album 'Illinois'. I got it without hearing any of it. But I had read some amazing reviews. A lot of critics had it on their top albums list, if not at #1 on those lists. (ie. http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/top/2005/index5.shtml)
Well, it's amazing! I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's so layered and interesting. The paragraph-long song titles are pretty sweet too; and the album reminds me of Chicago, which is cool. I can't wait to go back this summer!
Anyway, 'Illinois' would definitely have been on my 'Top 10 Albums of 2005' list, had I heard it in 2005. You should all go out and buy/download it. I'm now going to pick up his entire catalog. You can download four of his songs here free: http://tinyurl.com/8t8co