Wilco is music for people who care more about what it means to own a Wilco CD than what is actually on the CD itself. Wilco (or fill in about any other hipster band) is not about melody, or musicianship. It's about what they're not--melodic or musical and that makes them sophisticated and adds to a certain type of person's cultural pedigree.
I found this on Slate and while the guy is so deeply immersed in hipsterism that I had a hard time understanding the piece, he makes a couple of good points (sorry, no time for the link find it yaself, please):
Some consumers, of course, still need to feel as though the music they buy merits, if not exactly landmark status, some claim to cultural importance. Wilco is the band for such consumers; and to help them along, critics have provided the word "deconstruction." Deconstruction is now rock-press shorthand for the crumbling of the traditional Intro Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Bridge Solo Verse Chorus song structure. But its real significance has gone unnoticed. Deconstruction is currently doing for Wilco (and Radiohead before it) what it did for literary studies in the '70s and '80s: providing a sense of pomp and excitement during a period of near-total marginalization.
In other words, the music blows, but it's a different kind of bad and that kind of bad is better than the kind of bad on pop radio so it must be good!
It's like having 100 different Wal-Mart-type stores in your town. All of them offering inexpensive merchandise and good service at convenient locations. Most people are content with these stores for their basic day-to-day needs. Then a different kind of store opens.
They tell everyone that they aren't Wal-Mart, man, and will never be. Their selection sucks, their prices are high, but they have positioned themselves as the "intelligent shoppers" choice and the canvas bags they rent you for bringing your goods home are seen as a status symbol in certain circles.
The funny thing is, there IS a market for a metaphorical store like this in the music world. It is almost entirely about positioning yourself properly and counting on the mass confusion that is the hipster/sophistico world.
You can completely suck like Wilco and sell 400,000 copies of your record.
And I have to say there is a certain genius to that.