For example, in the 1998 Pazz & Jop poll - which that year featured submissions made by 496 critics - Aeroplane placed 15th. P&J is a reliable barometer of an album's reputation in the community of critics, since so many of them contribute to the poll.
By comparison, the only other "Elephant 6" band to place an album in the top 40 of any P&J poll between 1996 and 1999 was Olivia Tremor Control's 'Dusk at Cubist Castle,' which was all the way down at No. 37 in 1996.
That should be ample evidence of how Aeroplane was lauded far and above the releases of the Elephant 6 bands in general. Far from being obscure or unknown, Aeroplane was one of 1998's most written-about and praised releases.