R.E.M. comes rocking back to life on their best disc since 1992's Automatic for the People. The chugging, instantly catchy "Supernatural Superserious" and the soul-deep "Hollow Man" stand up to just about anything they've ever done.
ERYKAH BADU New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)
The neo-soul siren continues to play by her own freaky, formula-busting rules on her first full-fledged album since 2000, mixing seductive grooves and sociopolitical lyrics.
PANIC AT THE DISCO Pretty. Odd.
Beatles-esque pop? Check. Beach Boys sunniness? Check. Smiths-style melancholy? Check. These dudes display all this and more on their whimsical second disc, proving that they have grown well beyond emo.
JANET JACKSON Discipline
While still letting Janet be Janet, Discipline puts a spanking new sheen on her mix of clubby dance tracks, candy-coated midtempo confections and sweet and sexy slow jams. Her best since 2001's All for You.