This is the month that spring starts, right? Because i’m looking at a foot and a half of snow outside and it doesn’t look anything like spring to me.

Anyway, today’s yet another slow new release day, although today also brings us the most hotly anticipated release of 2009 so far…

U2 “No Line on the Horizon”; It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly five years since How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, but the wait is finally over…Bono & the boys are BACK!! While first single “Get on Your Boots” isn’t exactly the strongest song in the U2 catalog, I’m excited to hear what the rest of the album sounds like, especially after reading rapturous reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. This album is supposed to be a midpoint between the anthemic U2 of old and the experimental U2 of Pop & Zooropa. Let’s see if it all works.

The Prodigy “Invaders Must Die”: Thought Liam Howlett and company died after Firestarter and Smack My Bitch Up? Well, you’re wrong, pardner. The granddaddies of British electronica are back, and Invaders is already a smash, at least in their home country where it debuted at #1. Can an American comeback be far behind?

Neko Case “Middle Cyclone”: I’m not gonna pretend to be the world’s foremost Neko Case authority, because I’m far from it. However, Neko is an alt-country favorite/Americana, her last album, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, was the most well-received and biggest selling album of her career, and that was something like four years ago, so let’s just say that Middle Cyclone is pretty highly anticipated.

Grandmaster Flash “The Bridge: Concept of a Culture”: Flash has not released an album since 1987, and this release serves as a bridge (hence the title) between the old and new school, with guest appearances from the likes of Big Daddy Kane, Busta Rhymes and Snoop Dogg. Flash’s album is this week’s sleeper. I’ve heard it already-pretty good stuff.

Barenaked Ladies “New Year’s Eve @ the Fox Theatre in Detroit: 12.31.08”: Will this be the last BNL release on which we hear the dulcet tones of Steven Page? Could be. This one’s only available digitally, folks.

Elsewhere…Jesse Harris (who won a Grammy for penning Norah Jones’ Don’t Know Why) is releasing Watching the Sky today, while metal favorites Drowning Pool release their first live album, Loudest Common Denominator. Former Mavericks vocalist Raul Malo is back with Lucky One, and I’m very happy to announce that, coincidentally, both Revolting Cocks and Nashville Pussy are releasing new albums today. Not much going on as far as compliations/reissues go, except for a new Rush anthology package (CD/DVD), and a live set from Thin Lizzy being released on VH-1 Classic’s label.

Get the full list of this week’s new releases here.