1. Midlake, "The Courage of Others"

    February 05, 2010 2:31 PM EST 0 0 0 With its layered melodies and gentle guitar progressions, Midlake 's 2006 breakout album, "The Trials of Van Occupanther," was a hypnotizing riff on classic-rock conventions. For third album "The Courage of Others," the Texa ...

  2. The Magnetic Fields, "Realism"

    February 05, 2010 2:28 PM EST 0 0 0 The Magnetic Fields ' latest studio album, "Realism," is the final--and most convincing--installment of the band's "no synth" trilogy, which began in 2004 with "i." On the new set, Magnetic Fields founder Step ...

  3. Reckless Kelly, "Somewhere in Time"

    February 05, 2010 2:23 PM EST 0 0 0 It takes a certain amount of belief in one's own abilities to attempt an album of covers, let alone a tribute to a musical hero. And it takes talent to actually pull it off. Meet Austin-based country-rock band Reckless Kelly -a group that has t ...

  4. Josh Turner, "Haywire"

    February 05, 2010 2:18 PM EST 0 0 0 Josh Turner 's 2004 breakthrough hit, "Long Black Train," reminded country fans how rare and celebrated such thrilling, deep-baritone voices have been throughout the genre's history. And while Turner is a worthy heir to such barr ...

  5. Spoon, "Transference"

    January 29, 2010 4:08 PM EST 0 0 0 Spoon 's seventh studio album, "Transference," strikes a balance between its early angsty indie-rock and the soulful deconstructed pop of its 2007 release, "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga." The battered piano keys, jagged guitar riffs and c ...

  6. Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now"

    January 29, 2010 4:04 PM EST 0 0 0 When Nashville-based Lady Antebellum won vocal group of the year at the 2009 Country Music Assn. Awards, it both ended Rascal Flatts ' six-year reign in that category and accelerated the trio's journey into country music stardom. Indeed, L ...

  7. Sade, "Soldier of Love"

    January 29, 2010 4:00 PM EST 0 0 0 Suave production? Check. Heart-piercing lyrics? Check. Sensual, husky-voiced singer? Check. Those are just some of the things Sade fans can expect from the group's new album, "Soldier of Love." The release is Sade's first new mat ...

  8. Freedy Johnston, "Rain on the City"

    January 29, 2010 3:58 PM EST 0 0 0 Singer/songwriter Freedy Johnston 's moment as a critical supernova passed quickly enough during the '90s that probably few have noticed he hasn't released an album of new material since 2001. But his richly written and confidently pe ...

  9. The Soweto Gospel Choir, "Grace"

    January 29, 2010 3:55 PM EST 0 0 0 The Soweto Gospel Choir 's latest album, "Grace," is easily as exuberant and inspired as any of its past efforts. The aptly titled 19-song set-the South African group's fourth release on Shanachie Records-is a creative blending o ...

  10. Vampire Weekend, "Contra"

    January 29, 2010 3:51 PM EST 0 0 0 Vampire Weekend 's second album, "Contra," finds the New York-based band pushing its eclectic, intellectual indie rock further using a mash-up of musical genres, clever wordplay and emotional heft. The group even adds some internation ...

  11. OK Go, "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky"

    January 29, 2010 3:46 PM EST 0 0 0 The members of OK Go have always been known more for the zaniness of their music videos (remember their treadmill-based YouTube favorite "Here It Goes Again" in 2006?) than for the zaniness of their music. Working with Flaming Lips produce ...

  12. Motion City Soundtrack, "My Dinosaur Life"

    January 29, 2010 3:42 PM EST 0 0 0 Minneapolis rock act Motion City Soundtrack offers up a darker shade of pop-punk on its fourth album and major-label debut, "My Dinosaur Life." On the set, produced by Blink-182 's Mark Hoppus (who first worked with the group on its 2 ...

  13. Editors, "In This Light and on This Evening"

    January 29, 2010 3:38 PM EST 0 0 0 Editors ' suffocating melancholy and frontman Tom Smith's weighty baritone have long drawn comparisons between the U.K. rock band and post-punk act Joy Division . So it's hard not to see Editors' third album, "In This Light ...

  14. Pat Metheny, "Orchestrion"

    January 29, 2010 3:35 PM EST 0 0 0 Well into his fourth decade of jazz stardom, guitarist Pat Metheny has pretty much done it all, from recording in a variety of formats to working with colorful collaborators. Metheny has gone the solo route before, but his latest release, "Orch ...

  15. Mary J. Blige, "Stronger withEach Tear"

    January 22, 2010 4:02 PM EST 0 0 0 Like fine wine and Brett Favre, some things just get better with time. Another example: Mary J. Blige . On her ninth studio album, "Stronger withEach Tear," the soulful chanteuse struts confidently through a tight set of 12 songs about lov ...

  16. Ke$ha, "Animal"

    January 22, 2010 3:54 PM EST 0 0 0 Pop singer Ke$ha scored a No. 1 hit with her frothy first single, "TiK ToK," but the 22-year-old protégé of Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald still has plenty to prove on her debut album, "Animal." Luckily for her, the set tee ...

  17. Rob Zombie, "Hellbilly Deluxe 2"

    January 22, 2010 3:52 PM EST 0 0 0 Sequels are tricky in any art form, but Rob Zombie -who has revived the "Halloween" horror film franchise and has "The Blob" on his radar-certainly seems like the right guy for the job. While "Hellbilly Deluxe 2" certai ...

  18. Various Artists, "Glee: The Music--Season One, Volume 2"

    January 22, 2010 3:47 PM EST 0 0 0 Any TV program that can return the song "Don't Rain on My Parade" to the mainstream deserves recognition. For the second soundtrack installment of Fox's hit musical comedy "Glee," the talented cast covers more classics, ...

  19. Clipse, "Til the Casket Drops"

    January 22, 2010 3:41 PM EST 0 0 0 Hip-hop duo Clipse was bound to face high expectations for its new album, "Til the Casket Drops." After all, Virginia brothers Pusha T and Malice will be measured up to the heavy acclaim (if not sales) of 2006's "Hell Hath No Fur ...

  20. We the Kings, "Smile Kid"

    January 22, 2010 3:38 PM EST 0 0 0 On sophomore album "Smile Kid," Florida rock act We the Kings continues to turn out catchy pop-punk anthems, but this time with a larger emphasis on clean, laid-back riffs and hooky melodies. The single "Heaven Can Wait" straddle ...

  21. Jimmy Buffett, "Buffet Hotel"

    January 22, 2010 3:32 PM EST 0 0 0 With the exception of acts like "Weird Al" Yankovic and AC/DC , there aren't too many talents that need to worry about recalibrating their sound less than Jimmy Buffett . True to form, his new album, "Buffet Hotel" (the titl ...

  22. Timbaland, "Shock Value II"

    January 22, 2010 3:26 PM EST 0 0 0 After producing mega-hits by Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado in 2006, Timbaland 's first "Shock Value" album felt like a well-deserved victory lap upon its release the following year. "Shock Value II" offers another dose ...

  23. Alejandro Fernandez, "Dos Mundos--Evolucion + Tradicion"

    January 22, 2010 3:18 PM EST 0 0 0 Alejandro Fernandez 's superstardom lies in his ability to convincingly deliver in both pop and mariachi, with alternating releases in each genre. With new two-disc set "Dos Mundos," Fernandez tackles both simultaneously-and the resul ...

  24. Robin Thicke, "Sex Therapy: The Session"

    January 22, 2010 3:14 PM EST 0 0 0 Robin Thicke might be the only R&B crooner currently working whose love-song lexicon includes the word "brasserie." The "Lost Without U" star drops the term in his new album's song "Meiplé" while informing a la ...

  25. Alicia Keys, "The Element of Freedom"

    January 19, 2010 3:34 PM EST 0 0 0 "I thought love would be my cure," Alicia Keys sings on her fourth album. "But now it's my disease." Let's hope there's no cure for it. On "The Element of Freedom," Keys delivers a musically understated b ...

  26. Phil Vassar, "Traveling Circus"

    January 19, 2010 3:32 PM EST 0 0 0 On his fifth studio set, "Traveling Circus," Lynchburg, Va., native Phil Vassar set out to make an album without following the conventions of Nashville's paint-by-numbers record-making-he hired his road band to back him and produced t ...

  27. Ringo Starr, "Y Not"

    January 19, 2010 3:20 PM EST 0 0 0 Ringo Starr has always done best with a little help from his friends, be it with the Beatles in the '60s or the company of high-profile contributions to his solo albums. The big guns are firing again on his newest release, "Y Not," an ...

  28. Elvis Presley, "Elvis 75: Good Rockin' Tonight"

    January 19, 2010 3:11 PM EST 0 0 0 Elvis Presley has been gone for more than 30 years, but he lives on in what's become the music industry's most exhaustive reissue series. It seems like every anniversary of the King eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich is reason to d ...

  29. Blakroc, "Blakroc"

    January 19, 2010 3:05 PM EST 0 0 0 Based on the Black Keys ' shimmering blues-rock, few would have guessed that the Akron, Ohio, duo would spark a revival of rap rock. Blakroc , the group's rap-leaning side project, is a surprising foray for members Dan Auerbach and Patrick ...

  30. Lady Gaga, "The Fame Monster"

    January 19, 2010 3:00 PM EST 0 0 0 As if Lady Gaga 's debut album, "The Fame," wasn't loaded with enough hits-four No. 1s on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 chart, to be exact-the set's companion EP boasts eight new tracks, nearly all of which are worthy o ...

  31. Priscilla Renea, "Jukebox"

    January 19, 2010 2:58 PM EST 0 0 0 Priscilla Renea, a YouTube songstress-turned-recording artist, showcases her knack for combining prose and poetry with catchy beats on her debut album, "Jukebox." It's like a compilation of 11 powerful stories cohesively wrapped toget ...

  32. Allison Iraheta, "Just Like You"

    January 19, 2010 2:53 PM EST 0 0 0 Seventeen-year-old "American Idol" graduate Allison Iraheta was praised by judges and fans for her smoky, powerful voice and eventually came in fourth in 2009 behind Kris Allen and Adam Lambert . Her debut album, "Just Like You," ...

  33. 30 Seconds to Mars, "This Is War"

    January 19, 2010 2:44 PM EST 0 0 0 When 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto wants to go epic, he doesn't go halfway. In nearly every song on the band's third album, "This Is War," Leto enlists the services of a backing choir (some of the vocals were provided by ...

  34. Chris Brown, "Graffiti"

    January 19, 2010 2:41 PM EST 0 0 0 Although some still question whether Chris Brown can regain his career footing, his third album, "Graffiti," is a solid step in that direction. Joining forces with such production talents as Swizz Beatz, Polow Da Don, Ryan Leslie and the R ...

  35. Shakira, "She Wolf"

    December 04, 2009 5:46 PM EST 0 0 0 With plenty of moans, guitars, doumbek, disco, clarinet and synth, Shakira 's newest album, "She Wolf," is a grab bag of influences, ranging from pop rock to world music to '80s R&B. The result is certainly more adventurous t ...

  36. Gucci Mane, "The State Vs. Radric Davis"

    December 04, 2009 5:41 PM EST 0 0 0 If Gucci Mane 's new album, "The State Vs. Radric Davis," were a holiday, it would be Halloween. Over a daunting, organ-like piano on the track "Heavy," the Atlanta rapper wittily rhymes, "I just got out of jail, yeah, ...

  37. The Rolling Stones, "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!" (40th Anniversary Deluxe Boxed Set)

    December 04, 2009 5:37 PM EST 0 0 0 For a band with such a storied history of great performances-and a large catalog of live recordings- there's little a fan can buy (legally, at least) that captures the Rolling Stones at the full height of their powers. "Get Yer Ya-Ya' ...

  38. Pretty Ricky, "Pretty Ricky"

    December 04, 2009 5:34 PM EST 0 0 0 The giant parental advisory/explicit lyrics sticker on the front of Pretty Ricky 's new self-titled album leaves no doubt as to what the group is still up to on its latest musical outing. The former Atlantic quartet comes packing with a new mem ...

  39. Justin Bieber, "My World"

    December 04, 2009 5:32 PM EST 0 0 0 Fifteen-year-old pop sensation Justin Bieber 's first Billboard Hot 100 single, "One Time," was an insanely catchy ode to young love that immediately won over fans. And so were his second, third and fourth. It's no wonder, then, ...

  40. OneRepublic, "Waking Up"

    December 04, 2009 5:23 PM EST 0 0 0 OneRepublic has recharged its sound with its second album, "Waking Up." The new set finds the band turning out irresistible instrumentals and ultra-catchy vocal chants that enliven its radio-friendly rock sound. The first single, "All ...

  41. Rakim, "The Seventh Seal"

    December 04, 2009 5:17 PM EST 0 0 0 Despite it being nearly 10 years since his last album, Rakim proves he's still in top lyrical form on his third solo set, "The Seventh Seal." On the single "Holy Are You," he makes biblical references atop the Electric Prune ...

  42. Kid Sister,"Ultraviolet"

    December 04, 2009 5:12 PM EST 0 0 0 Kid Sister may be something of a one-trick pony, but fortunately that one trick is totally unique to her-a high-energy, syncopated rap style that's as simultaneously cute and husky as a Miley Cyrus single. Her often-delayed, multiple-producer d ...

  43. Annie, "Don't Stop"

    December 01, 2009 4:29 PM EST 0 0 0 Working with a host of producers on her second release, "Don't Stop," Norwegian pop singer/DJ Annie continues to balance her carefree playfulness with darker themes of struggling love to create a bittersweet dance party. But regardles ...

  44. Them Crooked Vultures, "Them Crooked Vultures"

    December 01, 2009 4:26 PM EST 0 0 0 With Queens of the Stone Age 's Josh Homme on guitar/ vocals, Foo Fighters ' Dave Grohl on drums and Led Zeppelin 's John Paul Jones on bass/keyboards, Them Crooked Vultures ' self-titled debut comes with a high pedigree and even ...

  45. R. Kelly, "Untitled"

    December 01, 2009 4:23 PM EST 0 0 0 Outside of the hits "Same Girl" and "I'm a Flirt," R. Kelly 's last album in 2007, "Double Up," was a guest-heavy exercise in boredom. But the singer/songwriter redeems himself on his newest release, "Unt ...

  46. Nirvana, "Live At Reading"

    December 01, 2009 3:25 PM EST 0 0 0 A humbling moment of Nirvana's 1992 performance at England's Reading Festival comes during the intro to the powerful rocker "Lithium." Dressed in a white medical gown and blue jeans, frontman Kurt Cobain hits a wrong note and is ...

  47. AC/DC, "Backtracks"

    December 01, 2009 3:22 PM EST 0 0 0 The most popular version of the new AC/DC boxed set, "Backtracks," will be the one that includes a CD of B-sides and other rarities, a CD of live performances and a DVD of videos. But the real prize is the deluxe configuration, available f ...

  48. Melanie Fiona, "The Bridge"

    December 01, 2009 3:18 PM EST 0 0 0 Although the release date of her debut album, "The Bridge," was pushed back numerous times, singer Melanie Fiona didn't miss her opportunity for greatness. On the set, Fiona brings the same sultry vocals and self-assured antics atop s ...

  49. Alejandro Sanz, "Paraiso Express"

    December 01, 2009 3:13 PM EST 0 0 0 The sound of Spanish pop star Alejandro Sanz 's new studio set, "Paraiso Express," is more melodic and commercial than his past two, more ruminative efforts-and this is a good thing. Sanz wrote most of the new songs at the piano, and ...

  50. Wale, "Attention Deficit"

    December 01, 2009 2:58 PM EST 0 0 0 Washington, D.C., rapper Wale owns the distinction of being the most well-rounded of hip-hop's latest class: He packed quirky smarts into last year's "Seinfeld"-themed "The Mixtape About Nothing" before splashing onto r ...

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