Live from Kegworth Studio, by Phil Keaggy

Fans of guitar superslinger Phil Keaggy (which include, it is said, the late Jimi Hendrix) know that he's incredible live, the high quality of his studio discs not­withstanding. Here he combines studio precision and live spontaneity as he tackles classic-rock covers ("To Make You Feel My Love," "Here Comes the Sun") and his Christian-music chestnuts ("What a Day," "Salvation Army Band").

Mylo Xyloto, by Coldplay

Mylo Xyloto strives to be melodic and grandiose, thoughtful and commercial, a big seller but not a sellout. It's the artistic equivalent of trying to serve Zeus and mammon, and it doesn't come without risks.

Mockingbird Time, by the Jayhawks

Mark Olson and Gary Louris reunited for a duo record in 2008, but this is the first album they've made together with the Jayhawks in 16 years. The two harmonize like a countrified Simon and Garfunkel, and they write potent songs that stick to your synapses.