While Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" returns to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 -- pushing Coldplay's "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends" to No. 2 -- two new albums arrive in the top 10. G-Unit and John Mayer start in the top five with their latest offerings, while just outside the top 10, rapper Tech N9ne and rock band Alkaline Trio have banner weeks ... In other news, Kid Rock's "Rock N Roll Jesus" continues its winning run, as it returns to the top 10 for the first time since last November ... We've also got updates on Taylor Swift's seemingly unstoppable hot streak, Blake Shelton taking his "Home" to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs and how Weezer's "Pork and Beans" joins an elite club of long-running No. 1s.

FLASH POINTS

• Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" returns to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 after a two-week vacation at No. 2, shifting 156,000 (down 25%). Last week's topper, Coldplay's "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends," slips to No. 2 with 149,000 (down 40%). Combined, the two albums -- which also happen to be the Nos. 1 and 3 best sellers of the year -- have moved 2.8 million. That's 1.7 million for "Carter III" and 1.1 million for "Viva."

• G-Unit's sophomore set, "T.O.S. (Terminate on Sight)," tumbles in at No. 4 with 107,000. The crew's 2003's debut album, "Beg for Mercy," started at No. 1 with 377,000 ... John Mayer's "Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles" starts at No. 5 with 75,000. It's his third live offering to chart. It follows 2005's "Try! Live in Concert" and 2003's "Any Given Thursday." The former debuted and peaked at No. 34 with 50,000 while "Thursday" also peaked where it bowed -- at No. 17 with 64,000.

• At No. 7, Kid Rock's "Rock N Roll Jesus" zooms up five slots with 45,000 (and a 27% increase in sales), returning to the top 10 for the first time since last November. The album has been on a roll lately, as this week it celebrates its 12th straight sales gain. Much of the album's recent charge has been powered by the hit radio single "All Summer Long," which rises 18-13 on the Hot AC/Adult Top 40 chart, 53-44 on Hot Country Songs and 21-17 on the CHR/Top 40 chart.

• Rapper Tech N9ne nabs his highest-charting album and best sales week ever as "Killer" starts at No. 12 with 36,000. He's been charting since 2001, but this is the first time he's hit the top 40. His previous high was the No. 49 debut and peak of 2007's "Misery Loves Kompany" ... Also celebrating its best week ever is Alkaline Trio, which debuts at No. 13 with 36,000. The band, after spending its career on Vagrant Records, moved to Epic Records with this release. The act had previously never gotten any higher than the No. 20 debut and peak of "Good Mourning" in 2003.

• Other debuts in the top 40 of the Billboard 200 this week include My Chemical Romance's live set "The Black Parade Is Dead!" (No. 22 with 23,000), singer/actress Vanessa Hudgens' second album "Identified" (No. 23 with 22,000), Relient K's rarities collection "The Bird and the Bee Sides" (No. 25 with 20,000), Los Lonely Boys' "Forgiven" (No. 26 with 19,000) and Jim Jones and the Byrd Gang's "M.O.B.: The Album" (No. 29 with 17,000).




The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 2 LIL WAYNE Tha Carter III (Cash Money / Universal Motown / UMRG) 11 5 THREE 6 MAFIA Last 2 Walk (Hypnotize Minds / Columbia / Sony Music)
2 1 COLDPLAY Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends (Capitol ) *12 New TECH N9NE Killer (Strange )
3 3 SOUNDTRACK Camp Rock (Walt Disney ) *13 New ALKALINE TRIO Agony & Irony (Epic / Sony BMG)
*4 New G UNIT T.O.S. (Terminate On Sight) (G Unit / Interscope) 14 13 KATY PERRY One Of The Boys (Capitol )
*5 New JOHN MAYER Where The Light Is: John Mayer Live In Los Angeles (Columbia / Sony Music) 15 11 PLIES Definition Of Real (Big Gates / Slip-N-Slide / Atlantic / AG)
6 6 VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 28 (EMI / Sony BMG / Universal / Zomba / Capitol) 16 4 MOTLEY CRUE Saints Of Los Angeles (Motley / Eleven Seven)
*7 12 KID ROCK Rock N Roll Jesus (Top Dog / Atlantic / AG) 17 14 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
8 7 USHER Here I Stand (LaFace / Zomba) 18 16 LEONA LEWIS Spirit (SYCO / J / RMG)
9 10 RIHANNA Good Girl Gone Bad (SRP / Def Jam / IDJMG) 19 17 JOURNEY Revelation (Nomota )
10 9 DISTURBED Indestructible (Reprise / Warner Bros.) 20 18 DUFFY Rockferry (Mercury / IDJMG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week




MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 7.56 million units
• DOWN 1.4% from last issue's charts: 7.66 million units
• DOWN 13.4% from same week, 2007: 8.73 million units
• This week: The top four albums each sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on the Billboard 200: T.I.'s "T.I. Vs. T.I.P." bowed atop the chart with 468,000 while the previous week's No. 1, the "Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus" album, slipped to No. 2 with 188,000 (down 42%). Only the top three albums sold more than 100,000.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 1 album this week, Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" (Cash Money/Universal Republic), sold 156,000.
• The No. 1 album for the same week of 2007, T.I.'s "T.I. Vs. T.I.P." (Grand Hustle/Atlantic/AG), sold 468,000.
• Average total of the No. 1 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1999-2008): 314,000.


PROGRESS REPORTS

• Taylor Swift's self-titled debut spawns a fifth top 10 hit on Hot Country Songs as "Should've Said No" rises 13-10. It's the first time a debut album from a female solo artist has landed five top 10 singles since we launched the Top Country Albums chart in 1964. It's the first debut album by any act to produce that many top 10 hits since Dixie Chicks' "Wide Open Spaces" also generated five in 1998 and 1999.

• Speaking of the Hot Country Songs chart, Blake Shelton lands his fourth No. 1 as his cover of Michael Buble's "Home" steps 2-1. Buble's original take of "Home" topped the Adult Contemporary chart in July 2005. It's the first time since 1992 that the same song -- performed by two different artists -- has hit No. 1 on the Country Songs and Adult Contemporary charts. The last time it happened was when Whitney Houston's cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" crowned the Adult Contemporary tally in 1992. Parton reached No. 1 on the Country Songs chart with the song in 1982 and 1974.

• As Weezer's "Pork and Beans" spends its 10th week at No. 1 on the Modern Rock chart, it becomes the 17th single in the nearly 20-year history of the tally to spend 10 weeks or more at No. 1. Back in 1995, Oasis' "Wonderwall" was the first song to claim at least 10 weeks at No. 1. The all-time champ for most weeks at No. 1 is Foo Fighters' "The Pretender," which spent 18 weeks atop the tally last year.



A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Beck's "Modern Guilt," the 30th anniversary reissue of Billy Joel's "The Stranger," the soundtrack to film "Mamma Mia!," a reissue of Maroon 5's "It Won't Be Soon Before Long" and Los Temerarios' "Si Tu Te Vas."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2007 when: T.I.'s "T.I. Vs. T.I.P." held on to No. 1 for a second week, shifting 175,000. Smashing Pumpkins started in the runner-up slot with "Zeitgeist," selling 145,000. Only the top three albums sold more than 100,000.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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