As a nice counterpoint to my recent review of Discus‘ 1st, we are currently studying Indonesian gamelan music in my music class (entitled “Musical Cultures of the World”). The text, Worlds of Music by Jeff Todd Titon (ed.), is a great book, providing a satisfying in-depth overview of various world musics - Indonesian, Japanese, West African, Native American, Eastern European, etc. Some of it is actually rather too technical for me, but I enjoy wading through and decoding musical terminology, which is a real challenge for me given my complete lack of background in music theory.
I’m really digging Josh’s suggestion of The Dismemberment Plan’s Emergency & I. I don’t feel like describing the music, but suffice it to say that it’s very inventive, very cool, very effective pop/emo/whateverthehellyouwanttocallit kind of stuff. Lots of keyboards used quite creatively, as a bonus for proggers.