A largely unexplored type of hydrodynamic instability is examined: long-time algebraic growth. Such growth is possible when the dispersion relation extracted from classical stability analysis indicates neutral stability. A physically motivated class of partial differential equations that describes the response of a system to disturbances is examined. Specifically, the propagation characteristics of the response are examined in the context of spatiotemporal stability theory. Morphological differences are identified between system responses that exhibit algebraic growth and the more typical case of exponential growth. One key attribute of predicted algebraically growing solutions is the prevalence of transient growth in almost all of the response, with the long-time growth occurring asymptotically at precisely one wave speed.