New music and album releases for Oct. 6, 2009:

Air, "Love 2" (Astralwerks): This French duo's fifth studio album combines atmospherics, electronica and their general je ne sais quois to strong effect in this song cycle about love.

Backstreet Boys, "This is Us" (Jive): Boy band returns for another go-round with collaborators old (Max Martin) and new (T-Pain). The group jumps on the vamp wagon with the video for their first single "Straight Through My Heart."

Michael Buble, "Crazy Love" (143/Reprise):  The Canadian crooner mixes it up on his fourth album by recording largely live, as well as blending standards with modern-day songs about love, such the Eagles' "Heartache Tonight."

Built to Spill, "There is No Enemy" (Warner Bros.): Alternative band led by Doug Martsch's distinctive vocals keeps up its rep as one of the leading purveyors of guitar-based rock that spans the spectrum of the genre.  

Brandi Carlile, "Give Up the Ghost," (Columbia):  Folk-rock singer/songwriter with a knock- out voice pairs with the likes of the Indigo Girls' Amy Ray and Sir Elton John on her third, Rick-Rubin-produced set.

The Gossip, "Music for Men" (Columbia): American rock band fronted by the charismatic Beth Ditto makes music for guys and gals that is poppy, edgy and irresistible.

Daniel Johnston, "Is and Always Was" (Eternal Yip Eye Music/High Wire):  Emotionally troubled-yet-beloved singer/songwriter mixes it up for his latest album by taking switching from his usual low-key recording efforts to going for multi-layered, lush production with Jason Falkner.

Toby Keith, "American Ride" (Show Dog Nashville):  Country superstar delivers another album with the typical swagger, but there are also a few heartbreaking tunes on here, especially his wrenching farewell to his good friend, bassist/former NBA superstar Wayman Tisdale, who died of cancer earlier this year.

Kiss, "Sonic Boom" (Kiss): Attention Wal-Mart shoppers:  Just like Garth Brooks, the Eagles and Journey before them, Kiss is offering this 3-disc set exclusively through the world's biggest retailer. "Sonic Boom," the band's first album since 1998, combines new material, remakes of classic hits and a live DVD.

Blake Lewis, "Heartbreak on Vinyl" (Tommy Boy) After parting ways with Arista, "American Idol" season 6 runner-up and beatboxer Blake Lewis releases a dance/beats-oriented album on a label known for its dance artists.

Noah and the Whale, "The First Days of Spring" (Cherrytree/Interscope): Part of London's new anti-folk scene, most folks in the U.S. still know this quartet from their music's usage in car commercial. On their second album, the band covers such big themes as love, loss and mortality.  So big, in fact, that they had to make a film to accompany the CD.