With a bumper crop of major albums dropping around the holidays, it's too soon to hazard an official tally of the year's best music. But we can easily call out some of the year's big musical wins, as well as a rogue's gallery of missteps by major artists.
HIT! Robert Plant and Alison Krauss ... more combust onstage: The surprise pairing between a classic rock god and the elegant bluegrass queen yielded last year's critically acclaimed, award-winning "Raising Sand" album. When Plant and Krauss teamed with album producer T Bone Burnett to tour, they only raised the bar (and the energy level), magnifying the dark beauty of their studio work for some of the year's most electrifying performances. In the process, they reversed the famous chemistry between Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: Krauss brought Plant class, while he brought her sex appeal. Led Who? (Erika Goldring / Retna Ltd.)