Death Cab for Cutie drives home its first No. 1 album as "Narrow Stairs" starts in the penthouse on the Billboard 200 ... Frank Sinatra grabs the No. 2 slot with "Nothing But the Best," his highest-charting album since 1993's "Duets" also went to No. 2 ... Jason Mraz rounds out the top three with his new effort, "We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things," giving the Warner Music Group and WEA Distribution a lock on the top three for the first time since 1991 ... Welsh singer Duffy is the latest British sensation to see their chart debut bow in the top 10, as "Rockferry" floats in at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 ... Keith Sweat notches his first top 10 album since 1996 as "Just Me" starts at No. 10 ... In Progress Reports, we've got news on the return of New Kids on the Block on the Billboard Hot 100, Brad Paisley's latest No. 1 on Hot Country Songs and the Cure's latest single hitting the Modern Rock chart.


FLASH POINTS


• Death Cab for Cutie claims its first No. 1 album as "Narrow Stairs" climbs into the top slot on the Billboard 200 with 144,000. It's the second major-label effort for the rock act. Its first, 2005's "Plans," started at No. 4 with 90,000 and spent 50 weeks on the list.

• If only Death Cab's album had arrived two weeks ago, Frank Sinatra could have had his first No. 1 album since 1966. However, the Chairman of the Board still stands tall at No. 2 with "Nothing But the Best" (with 99,000), his highest-charting album in nearly 15 years. Sinatra was last in the runner-up slot in December of 1993 when "Duets" spent three weeks at No. 2. The new hits collection, which captures the legend's time on Reprise Records, also commemorates the 10th anniversary of Sinatra's passing on May 14, 1998 and the release of the U.S. Postal Service's Sinatra stamp on May 13. His children Nancy and Frank Jr. appeared on NBC's "Today" show last week while Sinatra mania has been in full swing all month on Turner Classic Movies ... "Nothing But the Best" is currently the only conventional greatest-hits album available covering his time with the Reprise label. However, Reprise does have two lavish "Vegas" and "Hollywood" boxed sets on the market for Sinatra, in addition to Christmas and "Love Songs" collections ... The new "Best" set was also sold in 7,000 U.S. post offices; however, Nielsen SoundScan did not capture those sales.

• With Jason Mraz's "We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things" entering at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 (73,000), the Warner Music Group and WEA Distribution celebrates a monopoly of the top three on the chart for the first time in 16-plus years. (Mraz and Death Cab for Cutie are on Atlantic, and Sinatra is on Reprise.) Warner last ruled the top three on the chart dated Sept. 21, 1991, when Metallica's self-titled Elektra set was tops, followed by another Elektra album, Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable," at No. 2. Rounding out the top three that week was Rush's "Roll the Bones" on Atlantic.

• Welsh singer Duffy takes a bow at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 with "Rockferry," shifting 71,000. She's the third female British newcomer to see their chart debut bow in the top 10 since the beginning of 2007, joining Amy Winehouse and Leona Lewis. Duffy's album is led by the single "Mercy," which bullets at No. 20 on the Adult Top 40 radio chart ... Skipping down a few notches on the Billboard 200, at No. 10, the chart welcomes the return of Keith Sweat and his new studio album "Just Me." It's the first top 10 album for Sweat since 1998's "Still in the Game" debuted and peaked at No. 6. "Just Me" is Sweat's first studio album since 2002's "Rebirth," which peaked at No. 14 in its opening week ... Rock act 10 Years returns with "Division," landing at No. 12 with 28,000. Its last set, "The Autumn Effect," topped out at No. 72 in 2005.




The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE Narrow Stairs (Barsuk / Atlantic / AG) 11 11 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
*2 New FRANK SINATRA Nothing But The Best (Reprise / Warner Bros.) *12 New 10 YEARS Division (Universal Republic / UMRG)
*3 New JASON MRAZ We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. (Atlantic / AG) 13 13 VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 27 (Sony BMG / EMI / Universal / Zomba / Sony BMG Strategic Marketing Group)
*4 New DUFFY Rockferry (Mercury / IDJMG) 14 9 DIERKS BENTLEY Greatest Hits // Every Mile A Memory 2003-2008 (Capitol Nashville )
5 6 LEONA LEWIS Spirit (SYCO / J / RMG) 15 7 GAVIN DEGRAW Gavin DeGraw (J / RMG)
6 5 MARIAH CAREY E=MC2 (Island / IDJMG) 16 8 JOSH GROBAN Awake Live (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
7 1 NEIL DIAMOND Home Before Dark (Columbia / Sony Music) 17 12 LYFE JENNINGS Lyfe Change (Columbia / Sony Music)
8 3 MADONNA Hard Candy (Warner Bros. ) 18 4 CLAY AIKEN On My Way Here (S / 19 / RCA / RMG)
9 2 TOBY KEITH 35 Biggest Hits (Show Dog Nashville / UMe) 19 17 SOUNDTRACK Juno (Fox / Rhino / AG)
*10 New KEITH SWEAT Just Me (Keia / Atco / Rhino) 20 15 JACK JOHNSON Sleep Through The Static (Brushfire / UMRG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week




MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 7.43 million units
• DOWN 8.5% from last issue's charts: 8.12 million units
• DOWN 13.5% from same week, 2007: 8.59 million units
• This week: Only the No. 1 album sells more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on the Billboard 200: Linkin Park's "Minutes to Midnight" stormed in at No. 1 with 623,000. New efforts from Tank, Wilco, Gretchen Wilson and Megadeth all started in the top 10 as well. Only the top two albums sold more than 100,000.





BORDERLINES

• The No. 200 album this week, the various-artists compilation "We the Best" (MTS/RBC), sold 4,000.
• The No. 200 album for the same week of 2007, Montgomery Gentry's "Some People Change" (Columbia [Nashville]/SBN), sold 4,000.
• Average total of the No. 200 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1999-2008): 5,022.



PROGRESS REPORTS


• New Kids on the Block return to the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in more than 14 years as "Summertime" debuts at No. 57. The reunited quintet last visited the chart in early 1994, when "Dirty Dawg" spent six weeks on the list, peaking at No. 66. Between 1988 and 1994, the funky fivesome charted 12 Hot 100 hits with Columbia Records, with nine of those reaching the top 10. Among the Boston act's discography are three Hot 100 No. 1s -- "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)," "Hangin' Tough" and "Step by Step." New Kids' new album is due Sept. 9 on Interscope Records, with a tour set to kick off the same month.

• On Hot Country Songs, newly crowned Academy of Country Music male vocalist of the year Brad Paisley notches the fourth No. 1 from his "5th Gear" album as "I'm Still a Guy" climbs into the top slot. The set is just the third studio effort released since 2000 to host that many No. 1s, following Tim McGraw's "Set This Circus Down" (in 2001-02) and Rodney Atkins' "If You're Going Through Hell" (in 2006-08).


• The Cure return to the Modern Rock radio chart after a hiatus of nearly four years as "The Only One" enters at No. 35. The legendary act last appeared on the chart in July 2004 with "The End of the World," which peaked at No. 19 ... Since the Modern Rock tally launched in 1988, the rock band has notched 16 hits, including four No. 1s ("Fascination Street," "Never Enough," "High" and "Friday I'm in Love"). Of course, the band's history pre-dates the establishment of the chart, so we have to look beyond the Modern Rock list to fully capture the Cure's Billboard chart success. In the '80s, the group notched numerous hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Dance Club Play chart, including "Boys Don't Cry" (1980), "Let's Go to Bed" (1983), "Love Cats" (1984), "Close to Me" (1986), "Why Can't I Be You?" (1987), "Just Like Heaven" (1987) and "Hot! Hot! Hot!" (1988).



A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: 3 Doors Down's "3 Doors Down," Julianne Hough's "Julianne Hough," Foxboro Hot Tubs' "Stop Drop and Roll," Bun B's "II Trill," Scarlett Johansson's "Anywhere I Lay My Head," Donna Summer's "Crayons" and Jesse McCartney's "Departure."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2007 when: four albums debuted within the top five of the chart, led by Maroon 5's "It Won't Be Soon Before Long" at No. 1 with 429,000. New sets from Ozzy Osbourne, Young Jeezy and U.S.D.A. and the Used also arrived at Nos. 3, 4 and 5, respectively. The top three albums sold more than 100,000.