U.K. music critics have chosen Elbow's "The Seldom Seen Kid" (Fiction/Universal) as the best album of 2008, according to an aggregate poll of polls.

The listing was compiled by U.K. market leading entertainment retailer HMV, based on the end-of-year polls by specialist music press, national media and online sites. HMV staff votes are also added along with those of users on its social network site getcloser.com, with both voting blocks effectively treated as one publication or site for the counting process.

U.K. rock act Elbow was a popular choice as the winner of the Nationwide Mercury Prize in September. The award, decided by a judging panel, recognizes the album of the year by a U.K. or Ireland act. The album also made No. 5 on the Billboard Critics' Choice.

Elbow had 18 appearances in the various end-of-year polls in the U.K., according to HMV. That was only one more than Portishead's "Third" (Island/Universal), with 17 nominations. However, Elbow had higher placings with "The Seldom Seen Kid" reaching the top ten of 11 publications' end-of-year polls.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds came third with "Dig Lazarus, Dig" (Mute) followed by Fleet Foxes' debut "Fleet Foxes" (Bella Union) and another debut set, "Vampire Weekend" (XL). The top ten was completed by albums from TV On The Radio, MGMT, Bon Iver, Glasvegas and Hot Chip.

"The poll reflects an excellent, eclectic year in music with some exciting new artists featuring prominently," said Damian Evans, HMV's rock and pop buyer, in a statement. "Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend, MGMT and Bon Iver have really made their mark with wonderful debut albums, underlining how vibrant the music scene is right now.

"Established artists such as Portishead, Nick Cave and Metallica [No. 22] have also returned to great acclaim, although I suspect few people would dispute that Elbow have given us the album of the year."

Previous winners include Daft Punk, OutKast, Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem, whose "Sound of Silver" (DFA/EMI) came top of HMV's poll of polls in 2007.