Following on from my evidence suggesting that the best tracks on great albums are weighted towards the front of the album - particularly opening tracks - I've gone on to see if the most highly rated albums tend to be albums that are early in a act's career. What I did was go back to the Best Ever Albums website, and note down for each of the Top 100 highest-ranked albums what album number it was in the act's chronology (for example, OK Computer is album No.3 for Radiohead). I excluded "Magical Mystery Tour" by the Beatles, which was originally an EP, and "Kind Of Blue" by Miles Davis, because it was too hard to work out which number it was (it was high). The graph below shows the outcomes:
As I expected, the top-ranked albums tend to be earlier albums within a band's chronology, with about one-fifth of the "Top 98" being debut albums, and about another 30 per cent being either the second or third album. After that, there is a general downward trend, which is in part to be expected, given that many great acts don't make it past a sixth album.