Now THIS is more like it. I think most music fans will agree with me when I say that August has been an absolutely shitty month for new music, and this August has been one of the worst in recent memory. I hope the industry is thanking God for The Jonas Brothers. Anyway, there are a handful of big names with new albums coming out today. Here are some of the highlights.

The Game : “LAX”

The cover of The Game\'s new CD, \"LAX\"

We get it, Game. You’re from California. The third album from the heavily tattooed, recently incarcerated, former G-Unit member is rumored to be his last. Here’s a helpful hint, though. Rappers usually don’t retire when they say they’re gonna. Here’s another thing about rappers. They like to litter their albums with guest appearances. So, on “LAX”, not only will you hear Game reference or name-drop just about every emcee in existence (and probably add a few that aren’t), but you will get cameos from the mega-ubiquitous Li’l Wayne, gangsta rap pioneer Ice Cube, and…blink-182 drummer Travis Barker??

Slipknot: “All Hope is Gone”

Granted, we actually know what Corey Taylor looks like (thanks to his more listenable side project Stone Sour), but when will Slipknot drop the mask gambit. It makes them look like they’re on the same level as an Insane Clown Posse, and while the two groups may have base similarities, the reality is that they’re worlds different. Expect nothing but the typical alienated aggro-metal that will appeal to morose teenagers mad because daddy took away their cell phone and no one understands them. Me? Sarcastic? Never!!

Dragonforce “Ultimate Beatdown”

Fine, I’m not the world’s biggest metal fan. But I really like Dragonforce. They’re not all “waah waah, alienation”. They just want to rock out. They’ve got a bit of a sense of humor about themselves and they’re music, but they’re not a joke band-they have some serious chops. Expect “Ultimate Beatdown”, the band’s second album, to be this week’s sleeper hit, as their debut, while not a smash, still sells steadily.

Solange Knowles: “Sol-Angel & The Hadley Street Dreams”

OK, first of all? Worst album title EVER. But you know what? The second album by Beyonce’s little sister (who somewhat strangely, got preggo as a teenager and didn’t receive half the criticism that Jamie Lynn Spears did) works an alterna-soul vibe, with guest shots from Amy Winehouse producer Mark Ronson, Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-Lo, and rap legend Q-Tip…as well as Li’l Wayne (sigh). While there’s no guarantee that the album will actually be GOOD, just by virtue of it’s lineup, it’s gotta be better than Beyonce’s skeletal, melody-deficient “B-Day” album.

The Verve “Forth”

After an 11-year hiatus, Richard Ashcroft and his merry band of Englishmen are back with a new album called “Forth”. In a country that’s been not-too-kind to Britpop lately, it’ll be interesting to see how these lads fare, especially since the casual music fan only knows them as the “Bittersweet Symphony”/Nike commercial guys. However, “Forth” has gotten some sparkling advance notice, and you’ve gotta figure that after 11 years, their fanbase is a little impatient, so…who knows?

Also hitting stores today: John Popper has taken a break from building his arsenal and rejoined his Blues Traveler peeps for a new album called “North Hollywood Shootout” that’s being released, interestingly enough, on jazz label Verve Forecast. The indefatigable B.B. King proves that he’s down with the young’uns brand of technology with his new album, “One Kind Favor”, which is apparently only available as an MP3 download. Dollars to donuts that B.B. wouldn’t be able to download his own album. Another set of beautifully ethereal music from late vocalist Eva Cassidy, entitled “Somewhere”, hits stores today, while folks that are slightly less melodically oriented will probably gravitate towards Motorhead‘s “Motorizer”. There’s also new records out from 90s singer/songwriter Matthew Sweet and jazz-fusion keyboardist George Duke, who’s certainly got the best album title of the week-“Dukey Treats”!!

As usual, a full list of this week’s releases can be located here.

Happy shopping!