He's partying like it's 1999: Prince plans to release three albums in 2009 starting with "MPLSOUND," (obviously short for Minneapolis Sound), according to the Los Angeles Times. That CD harks back to his classic sound from the "When Doves Cry" era, writes the Times' Ann Powers.

Another release will be "Lotus Flower," a CD he previewed via Los Angeles radio station Indie 103.1 in December. It is a guitar-based album.

Prince plans to release the CDs through a major retailer (read: he'll make an exclusive deal with a Best Buy or a Walmart or some similar Big Box chain). He tells Powers he has no plans to work with a record label. After his high-profile split with Warner Bros. several years ago (Prince grew so frustrated with the label that he took to writing SLAVE on his cheek), he has linked with a number of labels, including Arista and Columbi a for one-off projects, but this time he's bypassing that traditional structure. The CDs will also be available through a website.
No word on a tour yet, but we have one word. If Prince comes to your town, GO. He's still a scintillating performer. I most recently saw him in June 2007 when he did a series of small, intimate shows (around 300 per performance) at Los Angeles' Roosevelt Hotel. His guitar work is still blistering and there's no doubt that you are in the presence of a genius.