While Radiohead has been nominated for In Rainbows, Plant and bluegrass singer Alison Krauss are nominated for Raising Sand, the album on which they collaborated last year. Music critic Neil McCormick gave his verdict on the Mercury shortlist.
"It marked a change of direction for Plant and was described by The Daily Telegraph as 'a haunted, trembling, otherworldly collection' of country-flavoured darkness," Daily Telegraph quoted McCormick as saying.
Also on the shortlist is Alex Turner, the Arctic Monkeys singer, nominated for the third time in as many years - this time with his side project, The Last Shadow Puppets, and their album The Age of Understatement. Turner won the prize with the Arctic Monkeys in 2006, and their follow-up made the shortlist in 2007.
There are 12 albums on the Mercury Prize shortlist, awarded annually for the best album by a British or Irish artiste. Estelle, who has been on the music scene for a decade but is only now finding mainstream fame, and Adele, a Brits School alumnus, are nominated, alongside folk singer Rachel Unthank and teenager Laura Marling. Aged 18, Marling is one of the youngest artists ever to be nominated for the prize.
A singer-songwriter in the Lily Allen Mould, she began writing material at 15 and uploaded songs onto her MySpace site. She swiftly came to the attention of record bosses, who signed her up at 16. The teenager was once refused entry to one of her own gigs for being too young, and ended up busking outside.
The other acts on the shortlist are Elbow, Burial, British Sea Power, Neon Neon and Portico Quartet. The winner of the 20,000 pounds prize will be announced in September.
Nationwide Mercury Prize 2008 Albums of the Year
Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
Radiohead - In Rainbows
British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
Burial - Untrue
Estelle - Shine
Adele - 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 Understatement