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The Polaris odds: Brad Wheeler handicaps the nominees

3:1 Radio Radio: Belmundo Regal. This could be the year Polaris gets funky. In this race, the colourful Francophones have the pole position.

7:2 Karkwa: Les Chemins de verre. The 11-member jury is stocked with people named Marc, Francois, Andre and Philippe. Does the sublime French-singing Karkwa have a chance? Oui.

5:1 Shad: TSOL. The London rapper is this year's K'naan, the Somali-Canadian flag-waver who came this close to winning the Polaris a year ago.

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6:1 The Besnard Lakes: The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night. The potent 2007 album from the Montreal space-rockers was called The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse. They are dark horses again, but strong contenders for the compromise vote.

6:1 Caribou: Swim. Polaris will find itself comparing Swim not with this year's other nine nominees, but to Caribou's 2008 prize-winning album Andorra.

13:2 Tegan and Sara: Sainthood. The indie-pop album from the identical twins was highly hyped and well received, but that was 11 months ago. Polaris has a short memory.

8:1 The Sadies: Darker Circles. Its cosmic country rock has broad appeal, but the Sadies just aren't sexy or strange enough for Polaris's contrarian tastes.

11:1 Broken Social Scene: Forgiveness Rock Record. The veteran Toronto rock collective is just too popular for the underdog-loving Polaris jurists to forgive.

15:1 Owen Pallett: Heartland. Toronto's Pallett, as Final Fantasy, won the Polaris in 2007. Polaris isn't ready for a repeat-winner; Heartland has little chance.

17:1 Dan Mangan: Nice, Nice, Very Nice. Nice albums, like nice guys, finish last.

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