For what it's worth, I think a strong case can be made for Joe Henry as artist of the decade, and I'll probably be making the case in more cogent form in the months ahead. His four albums this decade -- Scar, Tiny Voices, Civilians, and Blood from Stars -- ought to be festooned with 4.5, 5, 5, and 5 stars, respectively. And as much as it's difficult to improve on consecutive 5-star albums, I think he might have done so with Blood from Stars. It's a ridiculously great set of tunes. I'll hold off until August 18th, the official release date, to comment in detail, but I, for one, won't quibble with a couple of the early opinions that it just might be the best album of the decade.
I'm dreaming, of course, to think that most people, or most music publications, will follow suit. Joe isn't young enough, hip enough, or indie enough to merit that kind of consideration from most places. My guess is that the votes will be split among Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens, Animal Collective, and Sigur Ros fans, and certainly there is great merit in the body of work that each of those performers/bands has produced over the past ten years. It's just that, well, they're not the best. Joe Henry is the best.
Oh, and he's probably producer of the decade as well.