I employ a simple six-tiered recommendation scale for albums.
HIGHEST RECOMMEND: As good as it gets in a given genre. An easy best-of-year contender, and also deserves serious best-of-decade and maybe even all-time consideration.
STRONG RECOMMEND: An undeniably excellent record, definite best-of-year contender, but doesn't quite achieve that ultimate level of the all-time classics.
SOLID RECOMMEND: Not a great album, but hardly a disappointiment. An inconsistent album with several strong tracks, or a very consistent collection of good but not great material. Should still appeal to most listeners, and remains a near must get for fans of the band and genre.
MILD RECOMMEND: A border line call - the pluses outweigh the minuses, but just barely. For fans of band/genre only.
NOT RECOMMENDED: Needs no explanation.
YOU DECIDE: Albums I will comment on but don't feel comfortable passing a grade on because they are in genre's I either have a predisposed, prejudicial dislike for or are simply too out there to rank in a conventional way.
Then for a more detail analysis, I provide a component breakdown...each track is rated on a scale of 1-10
10 - Freakin' Amazing, a near Perfect Classic
09 - Excellent
08 - Good
07 - Solid
06 - Barely Above Average
05 - Average
04 - Weak
03 - Beyond Weak
02 - Dreadful
01 - Truly Horrendous
Also, some albums contain experimental, shorter connective tracks, which I refer to as interstitials. Tool uses these on most of their albums, and the Eels used them to wonderful effect on Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. When employed repeatedly on a single album, I give such tracks one collective rating.
Finally, for each album, I give it an Intangibles mark...encompassing track sequencing, cohesiveness, concept, attitude...it's basically an overall rating for how well the whole thing hangs together and how unique of an identity it has crafted.