Cast your mind back to a time when it was commercial poison to put a female voice on the radio, and contrast it to now, when female artists are everywhere. And yet, at least according to you all, none of those newcomers could dethrone the force of nature that is Neko Case. Last year, she had just released Middle Cyclone (Anti-) when she took this category. Since then, Ms. Case has been touring and riding a wave of accolades for that song cycle, which has seen her branch farther from the roots rock of her past into torch songs, pop, and pure banshee weirdness, all with the same confident grace.
2. Annie Clark [St. Vincent]
3. Florence Welch [Florence and the Machine]
4. Victoria Legrand [Beach House]