Rebirth
Like Toots said, reggae's got soul -- and you can get plenty from Jimmy Cliff's rewarding retro release Rebirth -- but it's also got freedom fighters (Anthony B), mystics (Midnite), stepping razors (Peter Tosh), and a U.K. Rasta whose long lost album plays like a forgotten masterpiece (Joshua Moses). With no Buju, Vybz, or Marley clan albums of significance this year, this mixed list of reissues and new releases has room for the avant-rock-meets-roots-reggae Congos vs. Sun Araw album, plus an amazing document of a dancehall clash from 1974 called Live at the Turntable Club. Add the wild dub world of the Upsetter (Lee Perry) plus nostalgic danceahall from the people's champ (Busy Signal), and the genre where "it all sounds the same" beats up on that cliché once more.Anthony B - Freedom FighterDennis "Blackbeard" Bovell - Mek It RunBusy Signal - Reggae Music Again
Jimmy Cliff - Rebirth
Sun Araw/M. Geddes Gengras/The Congos - FRKWYS, Vol. 9: Icon Give Thank/Icon Eye
Hollie Cook - Prince Fatty Presents Hollie Cook in Dub
Wrongtom/Deemas J - In East London
Easy Star All-Stars - Easy Star's Thrillah
Beres Hammond - One Love, One Life
I-Octane - Crying to the Nation
Konshens - Mental Maintenance
Midnite - In Awe
Mr. Vegas - Sweet Jamaica
Gramps Morgan - Reggae Music Lives
Joshua Moses - Joshua to Jashwha: 30 Years in the Wilderness
Lee Perry & the Sufferers - Sound Doctor: Black Ark Singles and Dub Plates 1972-1978
Sly & Robbie - Blackwood Dub
Peter Tosh - 1978-1987
Various Artists - Live at the Turntable Club
Various Artists - Sound System: The Story of Jamaican Music

Listen to the best tracks from our favorite Reggae albums of 2012 in this playlist: