If I’m not gonna focus on one release, I guess I should change the name of the column. Again. Any suggestions?

While you guys ponder that, here are some of this week’s key new releases. The 4th quarter is in effect, innit?

If you are a fan of the diva, today is a very good day for you. After numerous delays, Mariah Carey’s “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel” finally hits stores (actually, if you were using Amazon MP3, it hit stores yesterday, but that’s neither here nor there). This album was almost completely written and produced with R&B music’s current “it” man, Terius “The-Dream” Nash, and it’s spawned two hits in the Eminem kiss-off “Obsessed” and the cover of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is”. In a move that’s virtually guaranteed to score her a #1 album, she is also appearing on Oprah. Or has she done that already?

Wrapping up 27 years on Warner Brothers, Madonna’s releasing a hits package called “Celebration”. This will be available in single and double-CD versions. “Celebration” does its’ best to collect Madge’s hits over the years, while still leaving a fair amount out (“Dress You Up”, “Angel”, “Causing a Commotion”, “Keep it Together”) and features two new songs, including one with Lil’ Wayne. Sigh. The final diva competing for your dollars today is Barbra (Yawn) Streisand. The Schnozz That Roared hits stores with “Love is the Answer”, which was produced by jazz/pop starlet Diana Krall.

On the harder side of things, Alice in Chains returns with a new lead singer (‘cuz, you know, propping Layne Staley’s corpse on stage just wouldn’t be cool) on their first record in a decade, “Black Gives Way to Blue”. I call this as one of the year’s surprise hits-AIC has gotten some serious love at rock radio, and a fair amount of press as well. Also in stores today is the sophomore release from Grammy winners Paramore (AKA the junior-league Evanescence), “Brand New Eyes”. The “Twilight”-lovin’ Paramore fans might also want to take a gander at the new AFI release, “Crash Love”.

Now, welcome to the potpourri round! Attitudinal country singer Miranda Lambert is back with her new album, “Revolution”, and Wu-Tang’s shining star Ghostface Killah, fresh from co-star duties on Raekwon’s “Only Built for Cuban Linx…2” is returning with an R&B-centric new album called “Ghostdini…Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City” (weird title). Laid back electronic/chillout duo Zero 7 have “Yeah Ghost” in stores today, jazz legends The Manhattan Transfer are releasing an album of Chick Corea covers (say that 5 times fast), Foreigner returns with a TRIPLE album set called “Can’t Slow Down” (unfortunately, this album is not a song-by-song cover of Lionel Richie’s 1983 album of the same name), and, finally, there’s an album I just know you’ve been waiting for…the return of Green Jelly. Remember them from their hit song and video “Three Little Pigs” back in ’93? Well, they’re still around!! And still making albums!! Woo hoo! I know you’re gonna pick up two copies!

One release I would like to bring attention to is an album entitled “The Sun Came Out” by a collective called 7 Worlds Collide. If the band name sounds familiar, you might remember it as a lyric to Crowded House’s “Distant Sun”. That band’s mastermind, Neil Finn, is the driving force behind this album, which features appearances from Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, members of Radiohead, K.T. Tunstall, Bic Runga, and Neil’s son Liam and wife Sharon, among others. Proceeds from this album benefit Amfar, it’s two CDs of new material for the price of one, and it’s really, really good stuff. Treat yourself to a copy and do a good deed as well.

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