Pearl Jam returns to the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart with its first No. 1 in 13 years while another four new albums also enter the top 10 ... They include the latest efforts from Three Days Grace, Brand New, Five Finger Death Punch and Harry Connick, Jr. ... In Progress Reports we've got updates on the continued chart domination of Kings of Leon and a new "American"-made No. 1 for Toby Keith as well as news on Maxwell and Alice in Chains.


FLASH POINTS

• Has it really been 13 years since Pearl Jam was last at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart?

• The veteran band bows atop the list this week with its not-quite retailer-exclusive "Backspacer," shifting 189,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's the group's fourth chart-topper and first since 1996. That's when "No Code" landed in the penthouse with 367,000. Between "Code" and "Backspacer," the band placed four other sets within the top 10. Pearl Jam's last studio album, its 2006 self-titled J Records effort, debuted and peaked at No. 2 with 279,000.

• The new album -- its first not with a major label -- is sold exclusively in the United States through Target, iTunes, Pearl Jam's Web site and independent retailers and was released off-cycle on Sunday, Sept. 20.

• While SoundScan's tracking week runs Monday through Sunday, not all the merchants who report to SoundScan supply data reflecting the same time frame. Conveniently enough, Target's reporting week is a Sunday-through-Saturday window. SoundScan also synced up "Backspacer's" first-day sales from iTunes, Pearl Jam's Web site and the indie stores with the Target reporting week.

• Believe it or not, "Backspacer" is Pearl Jam's 30th charting album on the Billboard 200. That sum includes nine studio albums, a greatest hits package, a b-sides set and an amazing 19 live albums.

• "Backspacer" is one of five debuts in the top 10 this week. Next in line in terms of bows is Three Days Grace's "Life Starts Now," which starts at No. 3 with 79,000. It's the best sales week and highest charting album for the band, which previously had gone has high as No. 5 with its last set, 2006's "One - X." In between Pearl Jam and Three Days Grace is last week's No. 1, Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3," which slips to No. 2 with 134,000 (down 55%). The set has blown through 908,000 copies in its three weeks on the chart.

• Three back-to-back debuts crowd Nos. 6-8 this week, with Brand New's "Daisy" leading the charge, entering with 46,000. It's the first top 20 set for the group, which hadn't previously gone any higher than No. 31. Another rock band, Five Finger Death Punch, starts at No. 7 with its sophomore set "War Is The Answer" (44,000 copies). The act's debut set "The Way Of The Fist" peaked at No. 107 on the Billboard 200 over a year ago. However, on the Top Heatseekers Albums chart -- where new and developing artists rank -- the set peaked at No. 1 and spent a whopping 82 weeks on the tally.

• The final debut in the Billboard 200's top 10 this week comes from Harry Connick, Jr. whose "Your Songs" starts at No. 8 with 37,000. It's the jazz singer's second top 10 album. His first came with 2004's "Only You," which debuted and peaked at No. 5.

• As for the rest of the holdovers in the top 10 this week, we've got Whitney Houston's "I Look To You" falling two spots to No. 4 with 66,000 (down 58%), Miley Cyrus' "The Time Of Our Lives" (EP) standing still at No. 5 with 61,000 (down 18%), Drake's "So Far Gone" (EP) going from No. 6 to No. 9 with 36,000 (down 51%) and Muse's "The Resistance" dropping seven slots to No. 10 with just under 36,000 (down 72%).

• Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Sept. 27) totaled 5.93 million units, down 8% compared to the sum last week (6.43 million) and down 8% compared to the same sales week of 2008 (6.46 million). Year to date album sales stand at 256.5 million, down 14% compared to the same total at this point last year (297.8 million).



MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 5.93 million units
• DOWN 8% from last week's charts: 6.43 million units
• DOWN 8% from same week, 2008: 6.46 million units
• This week: the top two albums on both the Billboard 200 and Top Comprehensive Albums sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on The Billboard 200: Metallica's "Death Magnetic" stayed put at No. 1 for a third straight week, shifting 132,000 (down 61%) while Demi Lovato's debut album "Don't Forget" premiered in the No. 2 slot with 89,000.




PROGRESS REPORTS

• Kings of Leon jump to the top of the Mainstream Top 40 radio airplay chart as "Use Somebody" zips 3-1 in its 14th week on the list. The previous week's leader, the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling," slips to No. 4. A proven multi-format hit, "Use Somebody" previously hit No. 1 on Alternative, Triple A and the Adult Top 40 charts. It's the first single to reach No. 1 on all four charts -- or even just the Top 40 and Alternative charts -- since 2005, when Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" ruled the tallies.

• This week, for the first time in the 16-year history of the Adult R&B radio airplay chart, one act holds down the top two slots on the chart. Maxwell not only takes the honor with "Bad Habits" (moving 3-1) and "Pretty Wings" (falling 1-2), but he also becomes just the second act to replace itself at No. 1. Alicia Keys was the first to trade songs at the top when "No One" replaced "Like You'll Never See Me Again" on the chart dated Nov. 10, 2007.

• Toby Keith not only grabs his 19th No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart this week with "American Ride," he does so with his third chart-topper to mention the word "American" in its title. He famously first hit the top with an "American" tune on July 20, 2002 with "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" and followed that up two years later with "American Soldier" ... All told, "American Ride" is the sixth No. 1 on Hot Country Songs since 2000 to feature the word "American" or "America" -- that's four more "American" No. 1s than in the 1990s.

• Alice in Chains was a rock radio staple in the '90s. In that decade alone, the group racked up 18 hits on billboard.biz's Mainstream Rock chart and another nine on the Alternative chart. Oddly enough, the act's new single "Check My Brain" is proving to be one of its biggest chart hits ever. This week it gives the band its first No. 1 on the Alternative chart, where their previous high-water mark came with 1994's "No Excuses," which peaked at No. 3 ... "Check My Brain" already hit No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock chart, where it became the group's second topper after "Excuses."


A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Mariah Carey's "Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel," Barbra Streisand's "Love Is the Answer," Paramore's "Brand New Eyes," Alice In Chains' "Black Gives Way to Blue," Breaking Benjamin's "Dear Agony," Selena Gomez's "Kiss and Tell," AFI's "Crash Love," Miranda Lambert's "Revolution," Lynyrd Skynrd's "God & Guns," Foreigner's new Wal-Mart-exclusive "Can't Slow Down" and Joshua Bell's "At Home With Friends."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2008 when: T.I. bowed atop the list with "Paper Trail," shifting 568,000 copies. The rapper was followed by debuts at Nos. 2-4 by Jennifer Hudson's self-titled debut (217,000), Robin Thicke's "Something Else" (137,000) and James Taylor's "Covers" (95,000), respectively. The previous week's No. 1, Metallica's "Death Magnetic," slipped to No. 5 with 86,000 (down 34%).