Country star Alan Jackson scores the third stay of his career in The Billboard 200 penthouse with his latest Arista Nashville set, "What I Do." With opening week sales of 178,000 copies, Jackson ends

Country star Alan Jackson scores the third stay of his career in The Billboard 200 penthouse with his latest Arista Nashville set, "What I Do." With opening week sales of 178,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, Jackson ends the two-week reign of Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying" (Curb), which falls to No. 2 on a 33% sales slide to 153,000 copies.

It's the first time the big chart has seen one country act replace another in the top slot in nearly a decade. Jackson's "What I Do" also earns the singer his ninth stint atop Billboard's Top Country Albums chart.

Jackson scored his best opening week with his 2002 release "Drive," which moved 423,000 copies and debuted No. 1 on The Billboard 200. The set, which stayed on top for four consecutive weeks, boasted the mega-hit "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," which held the No. 1 position on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for five weeks. "Drive" has sold 3.5 million to date.

Anita Baker opens at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 with her Blue Note debut "My Everything." The veteran R&B artist's first studio set in 10 years moved 131,000 copies in its first week, and takes over No. 1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally. It's her fourth visit to the top of that chart, where the set moves 63-1 after appearing a week early due to street date violations.

Baker's last album, "Rhythm of Love" (Elektra), opened at No. 3 with sales of 184,000 copies; it has sold 1.9 million to date.

Following last week's abundance of new titles, only one other act debuts in the top 50 of The Billboard 200 this week, as Senses Fail bows at No. 34 with "Let It Enfold You." The New Jersey rock group's full-length Vagrant debut sold 26,000 copies.

At 10.3 million units, overall U.S. album sales were down about 9.5% from the previous week and just slightly (.5%) higher than the same week in 2003. Nonetheless, sales for the year are beating those of 2003 by about 7% with about 431 million units.

Beyond the debuts of Jackson and Baker, the chart's top tier reflects significant sales declines, led by Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company" (Concord/Hear Music), which drops 2-3 on a 33% slip to 135,000 copies.

The 16th installment of the "NOW That's What I Call Music!" (Universal/EMI/Sony Music/Zomba) series remains at No. 5 for a third week despite a 21% drop to 128,000 and Ashlee Simpson's "Autobiography" (Geffen) jumps 8-6, even though sales fell 21% to 89,000.

Jill Scott and LL Cool J -- who bowed last week at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively -- see four-slot drops of their latest releases on sales declines of more than 50%. Scott's "Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds, Vol. 2" (Hidden Beach/A Touch of Jazz) tumbled 59% to 79,000, while sales of LL's "The DEFinition" (Def Jam) fell 56% to 76,000.

Rounding out the top 10 is R. Kelly's "Happy People/U Saved Me" (Jive/Zomba), which falls 6-9 on a 44% drop to 71,000 and Young Buck's "Straight Outta Ca$hville" (Interscope) which sinks 7-10 on a 40% drop to 68,000.

As one of the few acts on the chart to see a sales increase, British act Keane's "Hopes and Fears" is The Billboard 200's greatest gainer. The trio's Interscope debut climbs 109-84 on a 33% spike to 13,000 copies following a Sept. 6 performance on CBS' "The Late Show With David Letterman."

Making their first appearance on The Billboard 200 is Akron, Ohio-based rock duo the Black Keys, whose Fat Possum/Epitaph album "Rubber Factory" debuted at No. 143. The set also landed at No. 5 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and No. 11 on the Top Independent Albums tally.