Years ago, I remember having read about screenwriter/director Cameron Crowe, who keeps a journal of the music he listens to while writing a screenplay. In other words, he assembles a "mix tape"--to borrow some Gen-X lingo--of the songs he listened to while working on the project. He documents the sounds that influenced his mental and emotional state while writing.
I've long believed the same thing. When I write a novel, I'll discover a particular song or album resonates in my heart and provides emotional inspiration that will help fuel the story or characters. The novel is not modeled after the songs. The lyrics don't influence the story. In fact, the lyrics often tell of a completely different story. But a lyrical phrase or bits of instrumentation will emerge as something to which the characters can relate--how they want others to treat them, or the emotions that drive them to act the way they do.
For From The Dead, Casting Crowns' album Lifesong , Bruce Hornsby's Greatest Radio Hits, and REM's Out of Time and Automatic for the People all emerged as as musical friends to the story for one reason or another. While none of the novel's content was derived from the songs, the songs themselves helped keep me in the emotional state necessary to see the novel through to completion.
Having completed the outline for the next novel--and by outline, I really mean a detailed, 50-page sketch!--I've noticed the main character would relate to Rascal Flatts' Greatest Hits Volume 1 album. It's one CD she would play over and over in her car.