Steve Jordan, co-founder of the Polaris Music Prize, has defended this year's shortlist for the Canadian album honor.

Six of the 10 nominees were previously-nominated acts. But Jordan says any criticism stems from a misunderstanding of what the prize actually represents - recognition for the best Canadian album of the year.

"There may be a misperception that Polaris is about new or emerging acts," says Jordan. "[But] that's just what's happened in the past - it was never the mandate."

Previously-nominated acts Metric, Malajube, Patrick Watson, Joel Plaskett, K'Naan and Chad VanGaalen are joined by first-timers Hey Rosetta!, Great Lake Swimmers, Elliott Brood and Fucked Up on the shortlist, honed down from a 40-album "long list" selected by a 182-strong media jury.

The winner of the $20,000 Canadian ($17,909) prize will be selected at Toronto's Masonic Temple Sept. 21 by an 11-person jury at an invite-only gala. Each nominated act is invited to play two songs and Jordan says there's a strong chance all 10 will appear this year.

The inclusion of Leonard Cohen's "Live in London" (Columbia) on the long list sparked some discussion about whether a live set should have qualified. Though it didn't make the shortlist, Jordan reckons that debate was a good thing. "Polaris," he observes, "is all about generating discussion."