Something tells me that the weeks of no noteworthy releases are a thing of the past-at least until the end of the year. The 4th quarter buying season is almost upon us, and although there aren’t any mega-superstar releases coming out this week, there are a couple of albums that should challenge Eminem and Katy Perry for the #1 spot on the Billboard charts next week in addition to several albums that might not have #1 potential but will definitely generate some interest. Here goes:

I’m definitely not what you would call a fan of Disturbed (or the type of music that Disturbed makes), but I definitely give them props for longevity, as they’re closing in on a decade of making records and have retained their popularity, unlike many of their contemporaries. Perhaps most famous for “Down with the Sickness” and their aggro cover of Genesis’s “Land of Confusion”, the metal band returns this week with “Asylum” (which is where you will probably end up if you’re disturbed…well, either that or at a Tea Party gathering).

Challenging Disturbed for the top spot will be the 35th (35th!!!) installment in the evergreen “Now That’s What I Call Music” series. Although these compilations are no longer chart-busters, they still routinely go Gold, as apparently some folks are too damn lazy to make their own compilations. Looking through the track listing, Vol. 35 seems a little more country and new artist heavy than volumes past, but pop fans also have reasons to look into this, as do the 3 Katy Perry fans on Earth who haven’t yet purchased or downloaded “California Gurlz”.

Some quick hits:

-Ryan Bingham won an Academy Award earlier this year for “The Weary Kind”, the theme from the Jeff Bridges vehicle “Crazy Heart”. “Junky Star” is the title of Ryan’s first album since Oscar raised his profile and has gotten some good advance notice.

-Fabolous somewhat inexplicably remains a top-selling rapper, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that the Brooklyn native (who still reminds me of a slightly less-retarded sounding Ma$e) releases a “mixtape” today entitled “There is No Competition 2: The Grieving Music Mixtape”. Maybe the couple hundred rappers with more skills than him should grab the 20 or so rappers that sell more records than him and make a mixtape called “But There IS Competition”.

-Goo Goo Dolls (‘memba them?) last appeared on record shelves with a new album back in…2006? Yep, 2006. A lot has changed in four years, but the Goos are still making that good old adult contemporary with guitars that they’ve traded on for a decade or so. And Johnny Rzeznik still looks like an old lesbian. Also on the comeback trail, the legendary Wilson sisters. No, not Wendy and Chynna: Ann and Nancy! Heart’s “Red Velvet Car” (I keep wanting to say “Red Velvet Cake”…and I will refrain from making the obvious fat joke) is their first album of new music in six years.

R&B fans might want to check out “America’s Most Wanted” from the perennially underrated Calvin Richardson. There’s also “I Still Believe”, the fourth studio album from Lyfe Jennings, and the first-ever compilation of the late Gerald LeVert’s solo work. As a fan of Gerald’s voice (and his hit singles), but never enough of a fan to buy his albums, this has been a long time coming.

You also might want to check out the new compilation series from Universal Music called “Icon”. Some of the artists in this series have been compiled into oblivion: do we really need ANOTHER Marvin Gaye compilation? Or another Jackson 5 hits package? James Brown? Johnny Cash? On the other hand, casual ne0-soul fans might want to pick up the first hits package from Erykah Badu, and people who want to line Courtney Love’s pockets might want to hit up the Nirvana installment of this series.

For a list of all this week’s releases, make sure you check out Pause and Play , where you will find an exhaustive listing of not only this week’s releases, but a constantly mutating schedule of releases clear into the end of 2010.

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