Spot dates planned for November and December.

Clay Aiken's third album, the covers-heavy "A Thousand Different Ways," comes out tomorrow (Sept. 19), but the second season "American Idol" runner-up plans to take his time before he hits the road.

"I probably won't start touring until early next year," says Aiken, who will play some "spot dates that are solely Christmas stuff" in November and December. "I've done a lot of the big outdoor fairs and arenas, but all my favorite stuff has been the Christmas tours, where I've been in a theater. So I'd like to try that this time with this album.

"It's a very intimate album in terms of the concept and what's on it, so I'd like to try to do something a little more intimate this time," he continues. "We're looking at starting that hopefully around February or March."

"A Thousand Different Ways," which features 10 covers and four original songs, is actually an outgrowth of Aiken's 2004 summer show, which focused on his personal favorites from the '50s through the present day.

"Initially the whole album was going to be full of original songs," Aiken notes, "but as we were doing that tour we realized it's very hard to come by songs with such great melodies anymore. So I started saying, 'Let's cover this one on the album. Let's cover that one,' and finally [RCA Music Group chairman/CEO] Clive Davis said, 'Y'know, it isn't a bad idea. Why don't you just do an album full of covers and let's try and wrap a concept around it and make it the greatest love songs of all time.'"

The first single from "A Thousand Different Ways" is Harry Nilsson's "Without You." Aiken co-wrote one of the originals, "Lonely No More," while Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child penned "These Open Arms." Aiken also co-wrote another original, "Lover All Alone," that will be available exclusively on iTunes.