For today's rockers, staying ahead of the digital curve is hard enough, let alone when your album leaks online three months before its street date.

For today's rockers, staying ahead of the digital curve is hard enough, let alone when your album leaks online three months before its street date. For Matador Records, one solution to the problem is its Buy Early Get Now campaign, which is designed to reward consumers who pre-order the album by offering an instant MP3 stream as well as exclusive extras.

The latest project to receive Buy Early Get Now attention is "Challengers," a new album from Canadian rock combo the New Pornographers. The set became available June 8 for streaming to fans who signed up online or at participating retailers, with the physical disc then shipped or picked up in-store this week.

The set is the follow-up to 2005's "Twin Cinema," the band's most successful album to date. It peaked at No. 44 on The Billboard 200 and No. 5 on Top Independent Albums. "With 'Twin Cinema,' we branched out to the point where we illustrated that all bets were off for this new album," group principal Carl Newman says. "We realized, we can do any kind of song we want on our albums. This record is an extension of that. It is maybe slightly more epic. It has our first song that passes the six-minute-long mark. In fact, it might have our first songs that pass the five-minute mark!"

Newman is particularly high on the three Dan Bejar-penned songs tipped for the set, including "Myriad Harbor." Vocalist Neko Case also takes the mic on two songs, one of which, "Go Places," is described by Newman as "kind of like" the early '70s country hit "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden." "Maybe that's just my warped take on it," he offers. "I'm kind of fascinated by that song because it's one of the biggest departures for us."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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