Quiz time, sports fans: What did the New York Yankees of the '50s and the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Cowboys of the '90s have in common? (And exactly how can this help you with your portfolio?)

It wasn't just that they had some of the best individual players of the time -- Yogi Berra, Michael Jordan, and Emmitt Smith, respectively -- although that certainly helped. And it wasn't just that they were able to bring home world championship trophies on a regular basis. It was simply that their organizations and performances were consistently excellent.

Consistent excellence is rare anywhere, but imagine seeing it in your portfolio. Impossible? No way! Because that's what carefully chosen dividend-paying stocks can offer.

Build the next investing dynasty
Finding these long-haul outperformers can help you build your fortune, as studies from investing gurus such as Jeremy Siegel have shown time and time again. Finding them for you is precisely what we do at our Motley Fool Income Investor service.

ONEOK (NYSE:OKE), for example, is up 96% since December 2005, and it is currently rewarding investors with a 2.6% yield. Then there's JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM), which has returned 48% since August 2005 on top of a current 2.7% yield. And while both stocks happen to be Income Investor recommendations, you don't need to be a subscriber to get these great gains.

Identify new talent
With that last thought in mind, I'd like to introduce you to our new community intelligence database, Motley Fool CAPS. There, savvy investors help one another identify stocks that can create consistent and substantial growth for any type of investor. That means whether you're a Buffett-esque value investor or a chart-watching technical trader, you are welcome to strut your stuff. And, just as in professional sports, the cream inevitably rises to (and stays at) the top.

So what are the best dividend-paying stocks around, according to CAPS? Here are a few dividend picks with five-star ratings:



Aber Diamond (NASDAQ:ABER)


Canetic Resources Trust (NYSE:CNE)


Universal Compression Partners (NASDAQ:UCLP)


Gerdau SA (NYSE:GGB)




Sources: Capital IQ, Yahoo! Finance, Morningstar, and CAPS as of June 6.

Stake your claim
I encourage you to join CAPS to learn more about why investors are so bullish on these companies, and perhaps to add your own thoughts to the system. I'll get you started with some thoughts about one company here that may be worth checking out: Canetic Resources Trust.

My, what a massive dividend you have
The Canadian royalty trusts, or Canroys, are a fun group of Canadian stocks that include the likes of Canetic Resources, Global Gains pick Precision Drilling Trust (NYSE:PDS), and Harvest Energy Trust (NYSE:HTE). By paying out substantially all of their income in the form of dividends, these companies are able to skip out on paying corporate income taxes in Canada.

Or, at least, they were.

The group of Canroys all took a big hit last fall when Canada's finance minister proposed a change in tax law that will tax the trusts at standard corporate rates. The suspected reason for the change is that a few major Canadian companies were eyeing the trust structure, and if these companies did reorganize as trusts, it would take away a good chunk of tax revenue.

While it appears that it's all systems go for the tax change to take effect in 2011, CAPS players seem to like the Canroys at their currently discounted prices. SmokeyJoeSmokin, one of the top players on CAPS, shares:

I love the Canroys at these prices! The yields are juicy, plus you are buying oil reserves at cheap prices. There is still some uncertainty in regards to the Canadian government revoking the trust structure. I hope the Canadian citizens rally and push their politicians to at least grandfather the existing trusts. The Canroys are already priced as if this scenario won't happen, so if it does then we'll see an immediate 20% pop in price. It's my guess and hope that these trusts will be grandfathered, if not then hold on for 3.5 years collecting your 20% dividends. The risk/reward looks attractive to me.

You can check out more of what others have to say about Canetic, as well as chime in with your own thoughts, by heading over to CAPS. You may also want to check out a few of the other top-rated dividend payers above while you're there.

And looping back around to conclude my (very) extended sports metaphor, allow me to suggest that dividend stocks will help you turn your portfolio into the dependable New York Yankees, rather than the flash-in-the-pan Florida Marlins. And if you hate the Yankees, it's probably because they're so darn good, so darn often.

More CAPS Coverage:

Yankees fan and Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer hopes the Yanks can continue (regain?) their legendary excellence, and has his fingers crossed that the Cowboys will never get back to the top again. He does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy is a true investing dynasty.