The cover of Keane's new album "Perfect Symmetry".Keane: Perfect Symmetry:

I posted Keane’s new single “Spiralling” in a Single Life column a couple weeks back, and I was surprised not only with its’ quality, but also with how peppy it was. I mean, Keane aren’t totally mopey, but their songs generally have a melancholy quality to them-those Coldplay comparisons aren’t totally farfetched. Perfect Symmetry is rumored to have a more upbeat, Eighties vibe to it, and I can’t wait to hear it.

Ray Lamontagne: Gossip in the Grain

Speaking of mopey, raspy voiced singer/songwriter Ray Lamontagne has not been known for being completely upbeat, but there are moments on Gossip-his third album-that are relatively cheery and even reveal a-gasp-sense of humor!! Of course, there are also plenty of tortured ballads here, but the album would be worth it if just to hear his creepy/hilarious tribute to “Meg White”.

Nikka Costa: Pebble to a Pearl

Each of the three artists profiled so far is releasing their third album today. Nikka Costa might be the most frustrating of the bunch. Her first album revealed quite a bit of promise, fusing funk and rock in a way not seen since the heyday of Teena Marie. The follow-up, to put it plainly, blew. Switching labels from Virgin over to Stax, Nikka returns after a three-year layoff with a new album, and I’m skeptical about spending my hard-earned ducats on it, so one of you guys reading is gonna have to tell me how the album is.

…and, there’s not really much else out this week. You can get your metal fix with the new album from Boston’s own Unearth and check out a new EP from singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson. There’s also a new one from alt-country giant Lucinda Williams, plus live efforts from Buena Vista Social Club and Phoebe Snow. Otherwise, it’s all reissues and holiday albums.

The Ho Ho Ho train is in full swing at this point, as there are new holiday-themed efforts from the likes of Los Lonely Boys (!), Sixpence None the Richer (!!) and the Queen of Soul. Aretha Franklin takes some time from bashing Tina Turner and is putting out the first Christmas album of her five-decade career. Of course, it would have been nice if she’d released a holiday album back when she could actually, you know, sing.

On the reissue tip, Philadelphia International is releasing several of its’ most treasured classic albums, including selections from The O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass and Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. The two-disc compilation “Multi-Dimensional Warrior”, featuring some of Carlos Santana‘s best work, is also in stores. There’s also a 2-CD, 1-DVD special edition of Johnny Cash‘s “Live from Folsom Prison”, and the first compilation from R&B crooner Joe hits shelves today.

Get your full list of new music here