The Last, and Best, Best of 2005 List
Washington City Paper's annual compilation poll of their music reviewers Best of Lists for the year is a far more enlightening Best of than most. The CP, a free alternative paper very similar to the free alternative paper in your city, encourages eclecticism in its reviewers (and its readers), so their list is far more expansive (and eccentric) than the run of the mills.
Be sure to check out the individual lists on the page. I've always found Mark Jenkins' taste very reliable. He also writes a biweekly column on the rock music business - the current one is here.