CHART 'KING': January affords the Decemberists their first Billboard 200 No. 1, as "The King Is Dead" debuts in the chart's throne.

In their three prior appearances, the Portland, Ore., alternative/folk act had peaked at Nos. 128 ("Picaresque," 2005), 35 ("The Crane Wife," 2006) and 14 ("The Hazards of Love," 2009).

The new set's lead single, the jangly "Down By the Water," rushes 10-7 on the Triple A adult alternative radio airplay tally, while album cut "Don't Carry It All" (both tracks feature R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck) starts on Rock Digital Songs at No. 40.

Still, the Decemberists have yet to grace the Hot 100, making the group one of just 16 acts to rule the Billboard 200 without charting a Hot 100 entry.

Reflecting the loyalty of indie rock fan bases, the Decemberists follow Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire onto the list:

Artist, Album (Year)
Van Cliburn, "Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 (1958)

Bob Newhart, "The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back!" (1961)
Judy Garland, "Judy at Carnegie Hall" (1961)
Vaughn Meader, "The First Family" (1962)
Frank Fontaine, "Songs I Sing on the Jackie Gleason Show" (1963)
Blind Faith, "Blind Faith" (1969)

N.W.A., "EFIL4ZAGGIN" (1991)
Soundgarden, "Superunknown" (1994)
Pantera, "Far Beyond Driven" (1994)
Makaveli, "The Don Killuminati - The 7 Day Theory" (1996) (While "Makaveli" never appeared on the Hot 100, the project served as an alter-ego release for 2Pac, who placed 21 titles on the chart between 1993 and 2009).
Bob Carlisle, "Butterfly Kisses (Shades of Grace)" (1997) (Both Soundgarden and Carlisle reached the top 25 of Radio Songs with tracks that were not widely commercially-available and, thus, per rules at the time, ineligible to appear on the Hot 100).

Il Divo, "Ancora" (2006)
Slipknot, "All Hope Is Gone" (2008)

Vampire Weekend, "Contra" (2010)
Arcade Fire, "The Suburbs" (2010)
The Decemberists, "The King Is Dead" (2011)

HIGH FIVE: The Decemberists contribute to a rare bounty of new music atop the Billboard 200's upper reaches, as the chart's top five consists entirely of debuting titles for only the fifth time in its 55-year history.

Below the "The King Is Dead," Kidz Bop Kids' "Kidz Bop 19" starts at No. 2, followed by the Script's "Science & Faith," Social Distortion's "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes" and Gregg Allman's "Low Country Blues."

Having first appeared on the chart in 1990, Social Distortion had previously peaked as high as No. 27 with "White Light White Heat White Trash" in 1996.

Allman nets his first solo top 10, besting the No. 13 peak of his first charted album, "Laid Back," in 1973. (The Allman Brothers spent five weeks at No. 1 with "Brothers and Sisters," also in 1973, and have banked three other Billboard 200 top 10s).

Five new titles had last monopolized the top five the week of Oct. 17, 2009, when Barbra Streisand's "Love Is the Answer" arrived at the apex, followed by Paramore's "Brand New Eyes," Mariah Carey's "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel," Breaking Benjamin's "Dear Agony" and Alice in Chains' "Black Gives Way to Blue."

A quintet of debuting albums stormed the top five twice in 2006. Christina Aguilera's "Back To Basics" launched atop the Sept. 2, 2006, Billboard 200, followed by Lyfe Jennings' "The Phoenix," Trace Adkins' "Dangerous Man," Cherish's "Unappreciated" and the soundtrack to "The Cheetah Girls 2."

The week of May 13, 2006, Godsmack's "IV" opened directly above Taking Back Sunday's "Louder Now," Bruce Springsteen's "We Shall Overcome: the Seeger Sessions," Avant's "Director" and Rihanna's debut album "A Girl Like Me."

Five new entrants first populated the top five of the Billboard 200 dated Oct. 11, 2003. That week, OutKast's "Speakerboxx/The Love Below" entered at No. 1, ahead of Dave Matthews' "Some Devil," Limp Bizkit's "Results May Vary," R. Kelly's "The R. in R&B Collection: Volume One" and Obie Trice's "Cheers."

Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield, Gordon Murray and Alex Vitoulis.