Arcade Fire, Drake, Shad and Tanya Tagaq will vie for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize, the $30,000 Canadian honour celebrating the best album of the past year.

Organizers unveiled a list of 40 contenders for the prize in Calgary today. Each year, a cross-country panel of music journalists, broadcasters and industry experts compile a list of the year's best Canadian albums, regardless of genre or sales figures.

Past Polaris winners — and Oscar-nominated collaborators — Arcade Fire and Owen Pallet are once again in the running (for their albums Reflektor and In Conflict, respectively).

Drake (Nothing Was the Same), Shad (Flying Colours) and other previous nominees such as Chad VanGaalen (Shrink Dust), Basia Bulat (Tall Tall Shadow) and Yamantaka//Sonic Titan (Uzu) are also on the long list.

Celebrated throat singer Tagaq (Animism) and Juno-winning indie rockers The Strumbellas (We Still Move On Dance Floors) are among the first-timers vying for the prize.

The longlisted artists, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Arcade Fire, Reflektor.
  • Aroara, In The Pines.
  • Austra, Olympia.
  • Badbadnotgood, III.
  • Basia Bulat, Tall Tall Shadow.
  • Bry Webb, Free Will.
  • Chad VanGaalen, Shrink Dust.
  • Chromeo, White Woman.
  • Cousins, The Halls of Wickwire.
  • Cowboy Junkies/Various Artists, The Kennedy Suite.
  • Dead Obies, Montréal Sud.
  • Diana, Perpetual Surrender.
  • Drake, Nothing Was the Same.
  • Freedom Writers, Now.
  • Fresh Snow, I.
  • Frog Eyes, Carey's Cold Spring.
  • Gorguts, Colored Sands.
  • Jessy Lanza, Pull My Hair Back.
  • Jimmy Hunt, Maladie d'amour.
  • Kalle Mattson, Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold.
  • Mac DeMarco, Salad Days.
  • Moonface, Julia With Blue Jeans On.
  • Mounties, Thrash Rock Legacy.
  • Odonis Odonis, Hard Boiled Soft Boiled.
  • Owen Pallett, In Conflict.
  • Philippe B, Ornithologie, la nuit.
  • Pink Mountaintops, Get Back.
  • Pup, Pup.
  • Rae Spoon, My Prairie Home.
  • Shad, Flying Colours.
  • Shooting Guns, Brotherhood of the Ram.
  • Solids, Blame Confusion.
  • Tanya Tagaq, Animism.
  • The Darcys, Warring.
  • The Sadies, Internal Sounds.
  • The Strumbellas, We Still Move On Dance Floors.
  • Thus Owls, Turning Rocks.
  • Tim Hecker, Virgins.
  • Timber Timbre, Hot Dreams.
  • Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, Uzu.

These semi-finalists will be whittled down to a short list of 10 artists, to be announced July 15 in Toronto.

The finalists will then be celebrated during a gala at Toronto's historic Carlu event space on Sept. 22, with the winner to be announced at evening's end.

Past winners have included Feist, Patrick Watson and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.