A good number of British acts -- including Mika, Noisettes and Basement Jaxx -- invade the stacks as we face down a new week of album releases. The biggest title to hit, though, will only be available in a single big box store: Pearl Jam's "Backspacer" arrived today in Targets across the U.S. The best of the rest invade tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 22).
Pearl Jam, "Backspacer" (Monkeywrench): Seattle's finest returns with its ninth studio album. Read review here.
Sean Kingston, "Tomorrow" (Epic): Bolstered by lead single, the hot "Fire Burning," Kingston returns with his sophomore release. It's too soon to tell if there's a long-lasting smash like "Beautiful Girls" on here, but 19-year-old Kingston did his best to create one by bringing in top notch's producers like J.R. Rotem, RedOne and Wyclef Jean.
Monsters of Folk, "Monsters of Folk" (Shangri-La Music/ADA) Indie rock superheroes Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, M. Ward, and My Morning Jacket's Jim James come together to ramble through a set crafted by each contributing an initial batch of songs that were then worked over by the collective. Look for a tour starting in October.
Brand New, "Daisy" (Interscope): Alternative rock band from Long Island's latest is a dense collection of songs that intense leader Jesse Lacey hinted could be its last: "I think a lot of the record is about us trying to make decisions about how long the band should go on,' he recently told "Kerrang!" "When I listened back to it, I realized how many songs are about something coming to a close, or knowing when it's time to put something away and move on."
Basement Jaxx, "Scars" (Ultra/XL) British duo returns with set that includes appearances from Yoko Ono, Kelis, Santigold and Sam Sparro. It's the house duo's first album in three years, led off with bangin' single "Raindrops."
Deadmau5, "For Lack of a Better Name" (Ultra): Grammy-nominated electronic artist, who already visited the top of the dance charts with Kaskade on "Move for Me," will back up his second album with a long U.S. tour. His name is pronounced "Deadmouse," by the way.
Five Finger Death Punch, "War is the Answer" (Prospect Park): Los Angeles-based metal band and road warriors brought in the big guns for their second album: the set was co-produced by Ozzy Osbourne producer Kevin Churko.
Mika, "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" (Casablanca/Universal Republic) Colorful, cartoony British singer has been seen as too flamboyantly cheeky here to break through in the U.S., but fans of pure pop adore Mika with good reason: his melodies are infectious and clever. Give him a second chance if you missed his 2007 debut.
Noisettes, "Wild Young Hearts," (Mercury): Co-ed indie popsters from London, led by the animated Shingai Shoniwa, have already captured the hipster set (who have already moved on). See if they can cross over to the mainstream with catchy tracks like "Don't Upset the Rhythm (Go Baby Go)" and "Never Forget You."
Three Days Grace, "Life Starts Now" (Jive) "Heavy alternative" band from Canada reunites with producer Howard Benson for its third Jive set and continues to combine dark lyrics with dense, yet catchy melodies.
Yoko Ono & the Plastic Ono Band, "Between My Head and the Sky" (Chimera Music). With the Beatles once again in the spotlight, the time is perfect for John Lennon's 76-year-old widow to return with a reconstituted Plastic Ono band. Lennon and Oko's son, Sean, co-produced with his mom here. Ono's quirky blend of styles, sounds, noises and her unique vocal delivery remains an acquired taste. If it's yours, there's plenty here to love, such as "Ask the Elephant!" and the title track.