When the most exciting release of the week is a Now That’s What I Call Music compilation, you know things in the industry kinda suck. The 43rd installment of the popular compilation series is August’s first marquee release. It features the ubiquitous “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, as well as recent hits by Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato and Katy Perry. As a companion piece, there’s also Now That’s What I Call Party Anthems. If you assumed that LMFAO would be on this compilation, you assumed correctly. The collection also contains uptempo hits from Usher and The Black Eyed Peas.

Annoying, queeny gossip columnist Perez Hilton has decided to enter the compilation fray as well, with a collection he calls Perez Hilton Pop Up #1, featuring 18 of his favorite unsigned artists.

I’ve not heard much about Elle Varner, but apparently she’s the latest female singer in the R&B sweepstakes. While at first glance, it would seem as though she’s in the same vaguely anonymous lane as Keri Hilson and Melanie Fiona, her debut album, Perfectly Unperfect, has gotten some pretty good advance props, this despite the presence of T-Pain in the writing and production credits.

On the country new artist side, it looks like this Colt Ford cat is gonna be kind of a big deal. His debut album, Declaration of Independence, boasts a guest list that includes Darius Rucker, Jason Aldean, and Boyz II Men.

Let’s go from new artists to comebacks for a second. A couple of veteran acts are returning after long absences. Remember Sixpence None The Richer? Twee female vocals. That annoying “Kiss Me” song? The desecration of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over?” Well, the Leigh Nash-led group is returning after a decade with an album called Lost In Translation. Will anyone care? Something tells me more folks will care about the first album in fifteen years from seminal alt-rockers Redd Kross.

This week’s mini-report winds up with a few odds and ends: a covers album from former American Idol runner-up David Archuleta, a Bruce Hornsby-helmed soundtrack to the latest Spike Lee joint, Red Hook Summer, and a live album from experimental pop outfit Antony & The Johnsons.

And, yep, make sure you check out Pause And Play for a complete list of all current and upcoming releases.

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