Mercury nominees unveiled

Burial: the elusive dubstep producer is tipped to do well at the Mercury awards
Burial: the elusive dubstep producer is tipped to do well at the Mercury awards

The shortlist for the 2008 Mercury music prize has been announced with a few surprises. Coldplay and Duffy both miss out - though they'll surely do well at the Brits. And there's a strong showing for female artists with Estelle, Adele, Laura Marling and Rachel Unthank all featuring.

The 12-strong shortlist is:

Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
- In Rainbows
British Sea Power
- Do You Like Rock Music?
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
- Raising Sand
- Untrue
- Shine
- 19
Laura Marling
- Alas, I Cannot Swim
Rachel Unthank And The Winterset
- The Bairns
Neon Neon
- Stainless Style
Portico Quartet
- Knee-Deep In The North Sea
The Last Shadow Puppets
- The Age Of The Understatement

With recent awards going to broadly rock acts, tipsters are suggesting a change in opinion for 2008 with dubstep producer Burial emerging as a possible favourite.

"Remarkably rich year"

"This turns out to be a remarkably rich year for British music,'' Simon Frith, chairman of the judges, said in a statement. "What is most striking is the continued resilience and flexibility of the album as a way of organizing music-making.'' That may be so, though UK album sales fell over 10% in 2007. And anyway, are these really the best UK albums released between July 2007 and July 2008?

Past winners of the prize include Primal Scream's Screamadelica (1992), Portishead's Dummy (1995), Dizzee Rascal's Boy In Da Corner (2003) and Arctic Monkeys' Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006).