Soul singer Joss Stone and Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand feature in the shortlist of 12 nominees for the 2004 Mercury Music Prize which was announced on Tuesday.
Other contenders for the prize include rockers Keane, dance duo Basement Jaxx and R&B star Amy Winehouse.
Veteran solo artist Robert Wyatt and rap newcomer Ty are among the surprise additions to this year's list.
Who do you want to win the Mercury prize?
Belle and Sebastian
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
Vote now closed
The winner will be announced on 7 September, and there will be coverage on BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC Radio 1.
The Mercury Prize is voted for by a panel of music industry experts, journalists and music artists and is seen in some quarters as a credible alternative to the more mainstream Brit Awards.
Previous winners include Primal Scream, PJ Harvey, Roni Size, Gomez and Dizzee Rascal.
What do you think of this year's nominations? Who should be the winner in September? Are there too many music awards?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received:
So, the Mercury Prize is supposed to be a credible alternative to the Brit Awards? Look at the list. It's full of trendy filler. No Morrissey? Give this man his due you ungrateful losers!
Julie, Toronto, Canada
I don't think the Mercury Music Prize has any relevance. How can you possibly compare bands as diverse as Keane and Basement Jaxx for example? Leave awards to individual genres to let them praise themselves if necessary.
FR, Manchester, UK
Have Mercury ever heard of Faithless before? Will half of these bands/acts be around in 10 years time? I doubt it.
James, Newmarket, UK
What happened to the surprises? Where is the recognition of innovative musicians? The nominations get more predictable each year.
Steve, Durham, UK
Is it called a 'short list' because most of them are short on talent?
Zutons, Franz Ferdinand and The Streets all deserve to be winners.
Katie Paterson, Leeds
Where are Muse for their stonking album 'Absolution'? However the other nominations I agree with, and from the options Franz Ferdinand deserve to win with one of the best albums of the year, and the best debut album of the year.
Franz Ferdinand are the first band in literally years that have caught my attention, so good on them. But Jamelia? Shouldn't she be up for a Smash Hits or Brit Award?
Clare, London, England
In previous years there have at least been nods to folk and contemporary classical music and I'm very surprised that nothing from either genre has made the list this year- especially given the quality of some of the new folk releases in the last twelve months.
Ben, Guildford, England
No album on this list is as relevant as Robert Wyatt's. Who amongst the other artists on this list will be making important albums in 40 years time? Thought not!
Howard Mather, Manchester
The Zutons rock, but then again there is just so much choice, Keane and Snow Patrol would get my vote, Franz Ferdinand are overrated with no soul. I saw all three at Glastonbury this year. Snow Patrol rock, their CD is still in my player!
Julian O'Neill, Birmingham, UK
Money makes the world go around! No it doesn't. Music does. Everyone has an opinion on it and thank goodness opinions are different. I own six of these albums and my vote would definitely go to Keane. Great songs and superb melodies. However judging by the comments about Belle and Sebastian I think I had better go out and by that one. They just might change my mind. And for all you snobs out there who think some or all of these people are not worthy to be on this list. Ask yourselves. What talent have you got?
Philip Butterworth, Brighton, England
Franz Ferdinand and the Streets are two really close contenders. But the album by Franz Ferdinand is fantastic art-rock and one of the best Britpop albums I have heard since The Bends by Radiohead.
You have to feel sorry for those nominated - the MM Prize is the kiss of death for those that win it... Dizzee Rascal/Ms Dynamite.... Where are they now? Not playing on my radio, that's for sure! Besides, we all know - the MM Prize is voted for by industry execs. Hmm, not too self-referential and slanted to grow revenues then, is it? (Call me cynical and jaded....)
Kate, Brecon, Wales
Shocking list this year, I hope TY wins it, failing that the streets, all the others are pure plain, where is the groundbreaking stuff like Dizzee Rascal, so many great albums left out.
I usually tend to see award ceremonies as a waste of time, especially from a record buyers point of view. However the Mercury Prize does offer a prize which a lot of decent artists could use. I say give it to Amy Winehouse, she's the most amazing talent and deserves some proper recognition.
Give it to The Streets. Anyone who lives in a run-down suburban area and knows street life will recognise how many levels they speak to you on. A musician speaking from experience.
John Mayo, Cardiff, UK
The album by Belle and Sebastian is great and gets my vote but this is not to the standard of their earlier work.
Bryan, Dorking, Surrey
Even although I'm from Glasgow, I hope Franz don't win... I think they're average, and are one of the most overrated bands of recent years... don't see what's so special about them.
Ali Smith, Glasgow
Franz Ferdinand and Jamelia are the only talent. I have to rush to the remote control any time Joss Stone comes on - that plodding, predictable noise makes me physically uncomfortable. FF and Jamelia have excelled in their respective styles. Just no more rubbish like the results from the last few years. I mean Dizzee Rascal - what on earth did he ever do and where is he?
Karen, Kensington, UK
Keane without a shadow of a doubt... what a band! Classic tunes and their debut album is the best I've heard for a long time... Music Gods!
While I don't know anything about the music, I do note with amusement that Belle and Sebastian named themselves after an 80s cartoon series. Its good to see some people keeping the old spirit alive.
Mendoza and Esteban, UK
Gosh don't some people love to complain! Its either too commercial or I've never heard of any of them comments. Some of these artists are, in my opinion, very deserving of the Mercury Music Prize, especially Amy Winehouse whose album is brilliant, Basement Jaxx (purely on the basis of the single Good Luck) and The Zutons, who are fab.
I'm just actually amazed I own three albums from short listed bands... namely Keane, Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol. Does this mean I'm in danger of becoming fashionable?
Nick Payne, Alcester, UK
Oh dear too many choices, i would choose Franz, Snow patrol, Keane, and the Zutons.
Ben Catchpole, Bucks, UK
Two words: Snow Patrol. If you saw them at T in the Park this year, you'd know why.
This year is pretty difficult to choose from! Nearly all the bands on here are really good!!
The Mercury Music Prize as ever is one big yawn, it is not an important award, those that deem it to be, should remember the failure to award Radiohead the prize for OK Computer some year's back. The Brits are tacky the Mercury is one big yawn
Andrew McMenemy, St Albans
Belle and Sebastian have achieved far more than any of the other contenders and should win it. Franz Ferdinand are not very good live, but their album is a stonker. Snow Patrol are a quality band who have been around for ages and deserve to do better. Basement Jaxx and The Streets are the only other serious contenders in my opinion. However, despite some of the bitchy comments on here I'm impressed with the 'listenability' of all the groups short listed this year and I would hardly call this lot mainstream pop. To those who haven't heard of these people - get to your record store now and relieve yourself of your ignorance!
Chris, Daresbury, Cheshire
To Chris, Cheshire: You've commented that Belle and Sebastian have achieved more than all the others and so should win the award. What have they achieved? They won a Brit award on a rigged poll and they haven't exactly taken the charts by storm. From the little I've heard their music is wishy washy pap. Apart from the occasional BBC critic, this page has been the only time I've heard of people liking or praising them. They won't win and they shouldn't. Franz Ferdinand should win but I appreciate all the other contenders' music. Belle and his mate don't deserve to be named alongside them
Jon, Newport, Wales
Why oh why do these people constantly ignore rock? Given the choice listed it would have to be Franz Ferdinand
It's an absolute travesty that Mozza hasn't been nominated, but in his absence it should definitely go to either Belle and Sebastian (for continuous brilliance in the face of obscurity) or Franz Ferdinand (for an absolutely amazing debut).
Allie, London, England
TY definitely should win! Upwards is an incredibly innovative album, beautiful.
In the end, all awards are the same. All of them jump the bandwagons of that week's hot new cool hyped musical sensations. Take it with a pinch of salt: the music should be good regardless of the hype.
Music awards are about as pointless as a chocolate teapot. If the music is good then people will buy it and that's all the award an artist needs. If it isn't then people won't and that ought to be all an artist needs to tell him he's wasting his time.
Where's Morrissey?? A storming comeback album from a legend and no recognition? Half these nominees are derivative rubbish, so at a push I'd go for Belle & Sebastian, the Streets or Robert Wyatt.
Sue, Guildford, UK
Keane are a little wet to receive any kind of acknowledgement, Basement Jaxx keep rolling out the clichés, Jamelia is plainly rubbish and the Streets are beyond comment. The Zutons' live shows put their album in the shade and the others I can't even be bothered to think about - apart from Franz Ferdinand who are by far the best of a bad bunch.
The Streets should win as they are by far the most revolutionary on the list. After basically inventing a new genre of music with Original Pirate Material, he manages to follow it up with one of the wittiest and original albums of the last decade. 'Blinded by the lights' is one of the most unique tracks I have ever heard, he could have the award for that alone! Plenty other good acts on the short list, although plenty rubbish (see Keane, Snow Patrol and Amy Winehouse).
I'm slightly confused by the inclusion of Joss Stone. Don't get me wrong it's a good album - but of covers! Not what the Mercury awards are supposed to be about. I'd like to see Basement Jaxx win this year, great album and they are amazing live. If not The Zutons or Franz Ferdinand.
I think Snow Patrol should win. They and The Zutons played a small venue in my town last year and it's great to see these bands get somewhere cos so many talented artists don't and end up giving up. Testament to Snow Patrol who have slogged it out for years.
Maybe the award should be given to the band most likely to still be around and credible in 5 years time. No winners here, then.
Franz Ferdinand and Keane have both released fresh debuts full of brilliantly constructed songs. Snow Patrol should be credited for their wonderful third album. Surely it's all about good music and what has gone down well with listeners rather than just sales alone - otherwise bands like Busted would be short listed, and they're not - thank God.
Looks like this year they are trying to be popular and obscure at the same time, but it doesn't work. How can Keane be nominated for a genre of music that Longview do much better? As for the absence of Absolution by Muse - what were they thinking? Real rock is never recognised here.
Rebecca, Cambridge, UK
This year's shortlist is one of the best in recent years, although I really can't understand why Jamie Cullum hasn't been listed. Anyhow, I think Franz Ferdinand should win it, as their LP is excellent.
Johan, Urk, The Netherlands
Must be getting old.....don't recognise anyone on the list. Are these the only musicians in the country?
Alan Farrow, Romford, UK
Blimey, I must be getting old! In the shortlist I've only heard of Basement Jaxx and Jamelia! And I'm only 33.
I see the music snobs have got in with their posts first, never happy unless they're complaining. But back on topic, Joss Stone should win everything I love listening to her voice, it's as simple as that.
Joss Stone, great singer, a true talent. I saw her at Glastonbury and she was awesome.
Mike, Oxford, UK
Who are half of these people? This has always been one of those joke awards, where rich execs and journalists vote for bands they think will make the most money at the end of it, it's got nothing to do with talent. Public voted awards are better because you get real people's opinions on music, not profit. It's definitely not a 'credible alternative' to anything.
Either The Zutons or Snow Patrol should win this years award.
Martin Boyd, Glasgow, Scotland
Keane and Franz Ferdinand are probably the best two acts over the last year. Both brilliant albums. Keane should narrowly win it.
Who cares, it is just another award which I am sure very few people apart from the organisers and contenders know about.
Amy Winehouse is only a "star" because she has a boozy/smoky name that fits her jazzy image. Please - no more girls who sing through their noses. And can we have some groups that don't sound thirty years out of date?
Heard it all, UK
FF looked to be favourites this year, but it really shows how far hype can propel a band. I saw them twice last year, one of those supporting Hot Hot Heat. Both times they were unimpressive and looked like a decent support act. Don't get me wrong they're good, but UK indie acts are way behind our cousins across the pond, although they get more recognition from our press then their own.
Harry Sagger, London
Belle & Sebastian should win for being consistently brilliant and producing a wonderful album. They probably won't though as the panel over the last few years have shown a desire to award it to the "next big thing" rather than any established acts.
Peter Swann, London, UK
Er, What music would that be then? Can't see any here? Just mainstream pop trash.
What a dry year for British music, if this yawn-inducing list of bands is anything to go by. It'd be a huge surprise if the highly overrated and massively annoying Streets didn't win. Roll on 2005.
Dan, London, UK