Best new CDs 0f 2004: Bjork's Medulla and Tom Waits' Real Gone, both of which take acapella to strange and bizarre heights.
The Best Old School CD of 2004 was recorded (but not released) 40 years ago: Bob Dylan Live 1964, Concert at Philharmonic Hall. Here is a first class glimpse of the grand old man as a fresh young talent with a slightly puckish stage persona. These by now highly familiar songs sound like he just thought of them, and you feel the excitement of being there at the dawn of something great.
Best "Classic CD" Reissue That Lived Up to the Name: Either The Clash's London Calling or The Name of This Band is Talking Heads by the band of the same name. I think I'll give the honor to the latter. The Clash are docked points for including the "Vanilla Tapes," a disc of the badly recorded rehearsal sessions of their classic record, which yields nothing of interest. The Heads' live disc gave you everything from the original LP, which captured them from their 1977 debut to their early 1980s prime, with almost a full disc's worth of fascinating, worthwhile extras.
"Classic CD" Reissue That Only Made Me Wonder What People Saw in the Original Disc: Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.