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SPRING CD SNEAKS

Who said that CDs were dead?

It's getting crowded at the starting line as artists of all stripes prepare their agendas. Here's a list of key spring releases, compiled by staff writers Richard Cromelin, Casey Dolan and Randy Lewis.

March 18, 2007|Richard Cromelin;Casey Dolan;Randy Lewis

Tuesday

C-Murder

"Screamin' 4 Vengeance" (Priority/Capitol)

The New Orleans rapper, under house arrest while awaiting retrial for, yes, murder, addresses his situation with the help of guest artists such as Snoop Dogg and Chamillionaire.

Joss Stone

"Introducing Joss Stone" (Virgin)

Her image gets flashier and more seductive, but she's still the little gal with the big, soulful voice and classic Atlantic Records grooves.

March 27

Mims

"Music Is My Savior" (Capitol)

The debut album from the New York rapper whose "This Is Why I'm Hot" recently became Capitol's first No. 1 single in 15 years.

Tim McGraw

"Let It Go" (Curb)

Mrs. McGraw (i.e., Faith Hill) joins her husband on two songs on his first studio album in three years.

Macy Gray

"Big" (will.i.am music group/Geffen)

Will.i.am and Justin Timberlake head the cast of producers and guest performers on the eccentric soul singer's return.

Redman

"Red Gone Wild -- Thee Album" (Def Jam)

It's been six years since the Newark, N.J., rapper made his last album, "Malpractice," and moved on to an acting career.

Jennifer Lopez

"Como Ama Una Mujer" (Epic)

The actress, who learned Spanish as an adult, delivers her first full album in the language, with co-production by her husband Marc Anthony.

Tha Dogg Pound

"Dogg Chit" (Koch)

Former antagonists Kurupt and Daz Dillinger are back for another Dogg Pound release.

Young Buck

"Buck the World" (G Unit)

Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent are among the producers on the followup to the Nashville-born rapper's hit debut.

April 3

Timbaland

"Shock Value" (Mosley Music Group/Blackground/Interscope)

The omnipresent, suave producer covers a wide range of genres on his fifth solo album. His list of collaborators includes Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Elton John and the Hives.

Ozomatli

"Don't Mess With the Dragon" (Concord)

L.A.'s super-charged party band uses its blaring horn section, raps and rock guitar to create an inspired hybrid.

Kings of Leon

"Because of the Times" (RCA)

The family Followill change its fuzzed out, slightly deranged sound for more diversity.

Fountains of Wayne

"Traffic and Weather" (Virgin)

Fountains? More like waterfalls of catchy and classic pop that cascade against the intriguing vignettes of people that we all have known.

Hilary Duff

"Dignity" (Hollywood)

Moving in a dance direction, the onetime teen-pop star wrote, with Kara DioGuardi, all but one song on her fifth album.

April 10

Bright Eyes

"Cassadaga" (Saddle Creek)

Conor Oberst and company return in fine form, with a "Basement Tapes" looseness, experimental freedom and lyrical ambition to spare.

April 17

Nine Inch Nails

"Year Zero" (Interscope)

Trent Reznor's latest opus is set in a future in which the world is approaching its breaking point.

Avril Lavigne

"The Best Damn Thing" (RCA)

The erstwhile pop-punk princess tries to grow up in public, with production help from, among others, Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance) and Mr. Lavigne (Sum 41's Deryck Whibley).

Joseph Arthur and

the Lonely Astronauts

"Let's Just Be" (Lonely Astronaut)

The prolific rock solo auteur shifts gears to write and record with his new touring band.

April 24

Mavis Staples

"We'll Never Turn Back" (Anti-)

Ry Cooder produced and led the band on the gospel veteran's reanimation of songs from the civil-rights movement.

Ne-Yo

"Know Me" (Def Jam)

Possessing one of the most memorably smooth tenors since Al Green, Ne-Yo continues his confident neo-soul explorations.

The Nightwatchman

"One Man Revolution" (Epic)

Audioslave alumnus and once and future Rage (again) guitarist Tom Morello also nurtures this identity for his pointed protest songs.

Patti Smith

"Twelve" (Columbia)

Rock's priestess-poet celebrates some other writers' songs, including tunes by Neil Young, Hendrix, Dylan, Tears for Fears, the Stones and Nirvana.

Arctic Monkeys

"Favourite Worst Nightmare" (Domino)

The Sheffield, England, band was the 2006 rookie of the year in many quarters, so this second album will bear the weight of major expectations.

MAY TBA

Chamillionaire

"Ultimate Victory" (Chamillitary/Universal)

The Grammy-winning Houston rapper's "Mixtape Messiah 2" filled the gap, but here's the real follow-up to his breakthrough debut, "The Sound of Revenge."

May 1

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

"Baby 81" (RCA)

Raucous and compelling with an air of desperation, the Club rocks and churns on.

Tori Amos

"American Doll Posse" (Epic)

The provocative cover art should give an indication that Amos intends to take no prisoners and return to her old engage style.

Miranda Lambert

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" (Sony)

Lambert lets her bad-girl sassy self wail on this rocking country album. .

May 8

Travis

"The Boy With No Name" (Epic)

Wistful and whimsical but never quite able to build momentum in the U.S., the Scottish band returns with some studio help from Nigel Godrich and Brian Eno.

Bjork

"Volta" (Atlantic)

The Icelandic innovator works with a diverse team including Antony Hegarty, Timbaland and Toumane Diabate.

Elliott Smith

"New Moon" (Kill Rock Stars)

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