Add another event to a year punctuated by Usher's stranglehold at No. 1 and Prince's comeback: the return of Anita Baker.

Add another event to a year punctuated by Usher's stranglehold at No. 1 and Prince's comeback: the return of Anita Baker. The sultry-voiced chanteuse is releasing her first studio album in 10 years. The underpinnings shaping such enduring Baker goods as "Giving You the Best That I Got" are here–– masterful blends of R&B, jazz and gospel accented by soulful harmonies–– and she skillfully interprets all of them with her warm, smoky vocals. While "You're My Everything" is classic Baker, this isn't a total exercise in nostalgia. Refreshing midtempo charmer "How Does It Feel" stands out, as does Baker's artful pairing with Babyface on the ballad "Like You Used to Do." One slight quibble: This tight package of nine songs (the 10th is a brief, jazzy reprise of "Everything") leaves the listener feeling shortchanged, given the artist's long hiatus. Still, a little Baker goes a long way.—GM