MICHAEL JOHNS Hold Back My Heart America, you got it wrong: Johns's debut proves he should have finished a lot higher than eighth on American Idol in 2008. Surprisingly soulful, with more bluesy grit than Taylor Hicks could dream of.
ZEE AVI Zee Avi After being discovered on YouTube by one of the Raconteurs, this Malaysian singer-songwriter was signed to Jack Johnson's label, a good home for her airy folk-pop. At times, though, this debut floats by a little too easily.
TAKING BACK SUNDAY New Again They ought to take back the title, because there's really nothing new about the fourth album from this quintet. Even so, it's a serviceable set of rockers such as the punk-spiked single "Sink Into Me."