8. Ashes & Fire (2011): Like Cardinology and Easy Tiger before it, Ashes & Fire is Ryan Adams operating in a warm, lovely, comfortable space. Sonically, it's a stunning work -- it sounds as good as Whiskeytown's miraculous Pneumonia (oddly, Pneumonia was produced by Ethan Johns, while Ashes & Fire was produced by Ethan's father, Glyn). Ashes & Fire is Adams's first post-Cardinals album, and some of his experimental tendencies seem to have disappeared with his band, although that could be due less to his collaborators than his state of mind: This is Ryan Adams at his most serene, surely owing in some respects to his now-established sobriety and his reportedly happy marriage to Mandy Moore. The album starts in first gear and just coasts, but it's a sheer pleasure to listen to him in such a contented, contemplative state.