Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Raising Sand (Rounder) Why does my mouth fill with sand when I think about this project?
Queen Latifah, Trav'lin' Light (Verve) Latifah steps to a song that will always be owned by Billie Holiday — and sings some other songs as well — on her debut album for one of Lady Day's main labels today.
Scott Walker, And Who Shall Go to the Ball? (4AD UK) The enigma returns more quickly than usual, albeit with a four-movement instrumental mini-LP composed for a dance piece.
Will.i.am, Songs about Girls (Interscope) The Black Eyed Pea with the lamest name loves the ladies, egged on by Snoop Dogg.
Cassidy, B.A.R.S. (Full Surface/J) The Philly battle rapper rebounds from injury and lockup and leans on Bone Thugs, John Legend, and others for faith.
Annie Lennox, Songs of Mass Destruction (Arista) No doubt about it, "Why?" can be very irritating. But this title suggests she's really amped up the damage inflicted by her tunes.
Band of Horses, Cease to Begin (Sub Pop) Ben Bridwell expresses his love for YouTube video directors on this Phil Eks–produced second LP.
Dengue Fever, Untitled (M80 Music/NAIL/Allegro) On recordings, they're sometimes glorious, sometimes not — will the third time be a charm for the group led by Chhom Nimol's dynamic voice?
The Fiery Furnaces, Widow City (Thrill Jockey) The prolific sibs thrust forth their sixth full-length, emboldened by engineer John McEntire of Tortoise.
The Hives, The Black and White Album (Interscope) The ebullient Swedes will be donning black after a dozen or so shows opening for Maroon 5.
Jennifer Lopez, Brave (Epic) Are listeners courageous or is she?
Robert Pollard, Coast to Coast Carpet of Love and Standard Gargoyle Decisions (Merge) Two releases in one day — guided by bipolar voices?
She Wants Revenge, This Is Forever (Geffen) Let's hope not.
Amy Winehouse, Frank (Island) Pre–US juggernaut album by the singer in rehab, for anyone who doesn't think she's overexposed or wouldn't rather look at Ronnie Spector and listen to Ruth Brown.
Nicole Scherzinger, Her Name Is Nicole ...(Interscope) ...and she's the Pussycat Doll whom you can tell apart from the other Pussycat Dolls — I think. She falls in seconds-long love at first sight with prospective members of her group during auditions, if the trashiest TV show in recent memory is to be believed.
Ashanti, The Declaration (The Inc.) I'll flabbergast many by saying that Ashanti has served up more quality hit singles than the other R&B diva releasing an album this week.
Alicia Keys, As I Am (J) She can sing, she can play, she can sell Proactiv Solution like few others. But will she ever truly let that voice loose?
Backstreet Boys, Unbreakable (Jive) Do we really want it that way again? Can they give it to us that way? One thing's for sure — this should give Chelsea Handler months of comedy material.
Chris Brown, Exclusive (Jive) Yeah, he's cuter than kitten posters. But his appearance in a tribute to the Godfather of Soul at last year's Grammy Awards verged on sacrilege.