VU - s/t - bought on a French-class exchange program when we went to France. Also Mano Negra - In the Hell of Patchinko (love it; maybe I should have listed this one) and Les Bonbons and Jacques Brel '67 by Jacques Brel. Definitely I should have picked one of those two; in addition to the reasons already given they were the first foreign-language music I could understand, which was really cool
Donovan - HMS Donovan - the most representative album of my Donovan phase. It's a great and really one-of-a-kind disc, and I remember listening to it on the flight to France. More for memories than for any real reason.
The Dream Syndicate - Live at Raji's - made me realize the '80s weren't as bad as I thought and could actually kick as much ass as earlier music. For many people REM filled this function.
Brian Eno - Another Green World - showed the way to a completely different approach to music; also really made me love marijuana but several albums did that.
Leonard Cohen - Songs from a Room - I think the only one of these I picked up in college. Got me through some tough times early in mental illness.
New Order - Substance - made me love dance music and disco (the other side of a coin with PSB) which if you know my tastes you know that's important. Fun fact: I've owned this one three times.
Of Montreal - The Gay Parade - maybe the first "recent" album I loved after seeing it described as an indie Sgt. Pepper. I've never been all that into indie rock but this showed me that contemporary music could be great, after years of listening to typical WRC stuff.
Spiritualized - Royal Albert Hall - the album that made me love SPZ and opened a rich vein of bands and musicians radiating from it.