Producer: Justin Meldal-Johnsen

Fueled by Ramen

Release Date: April 9

Following singer Hayley Williams' 2010 split with co-founders Josh and Zac Farro, there's a defiant tone to the reconfigured band's new album. It bounces from the glam of "Fast in My Car" to the soul tinge of "Ain't It Fun" and torchy ache of "Hate to See Your Heart Break." -GG



Killswitch Engage

"Disarm the Descent"

Producer: Adam Dutkiewicz

Roadrunner Records

Release Date: April 2

"Disarm the Descent" begins with a chest-busting roar announcing the return of original singer Jesse Leach. Taking a breath only on the anthemic "Always," this is the Massachusetts headbangers' fastest and fiercest album yet. But the group maintains its harmonic edge and the positivity that separates Leach from his angsty peers. -GG



New Kids on the Block


Producers: DEEKAY Music, Brent Paschke

The Block/Boston Five

Release Date: April 2

It seems a daunting task: return a '90s-era boy band to prominence without resorting to camp or desperation. But the five 40-something guys of NKOTB did it. Fronted by first single "Remix (I Like The)" and its unaffectedly hip video, "10" is a trend-free, earnest collection of vocal pop. -KM




Departure and Farewell

Producers: Dan Messe, Gary Maurer

Waveland Records

Release Date: April 2

Sally Ellyson's voice has never sounded as focused, peaceful and tender as it does on the adventurous "Departure and Farewell." The Brooklyn band still cradles territory between folk and country, while also charting new territory. Strings propel closer "Funnel Cloud" and gospel enters on "So Long." -PG



Various Artists

"Music for Dancefloors: The KPM Music Library"

Producers: various

Strut Records

Release Date: April 2

In the '60s and '70s, this famed British film/TV music house made some of the tightest soul-jazz instrumental jams this side of "ITV News at 10." Crate-digging extraordinaire Strut released a comp in 2000, but this two-CD reissue's live disc puts the studio's brilliance in perspective. No wonder Jay-Z, Tarantino and Danger Mouse all tapped this wellspring. -AG



Lil Wayne

"I Am Not a Human Being II"

Producers: various

Cash Money

Release Date: March 26

Lil Wayne's latest, "I Am Not a Human Being II," has a surplus of metaphors, including subtle odes to trap rap ("Gunwalk"), moments for real romance ("Back to You") and the kinky kind ("Romance"), coupled with bits of self-reflection ("God Bless Amerika"). Diverse yet bold, the set fits Weezy like a glove. -KI