princeWhen Prince left Warner Brothers back in ’96, one major sticking point was that his then label refused to allow him to release music at the pace he wanted to. Among the many issues Prince had was the fact that his magnum opus, 1987’s “Sign O’ the Times”, was whittled down from 3 discs to a more consumer-palatable 2. Prince finally got his 3-disc set upon his release from Warner with ’96’s “Emancipation”, which, while not bad for a 3-CD set, you can find for five bucks used at most retailers these days.

After slowing down his release schedule slightly, Prince has returned with yet another three-disc set: “Mplsound”, “Lotusflower” and “Elixir” are all being released as one package tomorrow. The catch? This set will only be sold at Target stores and via Prince is following the model set by AC/DC and The Eagles (successfully) and Christina Aguilera and Guns ‘n Roses (not so successfully). We’ll see if the Purple One still has what it takes. Judging from public response to his performances on Leno last week, I think it would be foolish to count the little man out.

A few other things to look out for this week:

Keith Urban “Defying Gravity”- A new album from Mr. Nicole Kidman and the first set he’s recorded since completing rehab a couple years back. The Aussie country star should wind up with the week’s biggest-selling debut.

Bow Wow “New Jack City Pt. 2”- He’s not been Lil’ for some time now, and Bow Wow has, quiet as kept, been one of hip-hop’s most consistent sellers over the past decade or so. I wonder if he’s writing his own lyrics yet, or if Jermaine Dupri’s still hiring ghostwriters for him. I won’t discuss the stupid title for fear that our own GG might jump through the screen and strangle me.

UGK “UGK for Life”- This should wrap things up for the Houston-based hip-hoppers, seeing as 1/2 of the group, Pimp C, passed away a year and a half ago, sadly following their biggest commercial success with “International Player’s Anthem”. This album features a bevy of guests paying tribute, from MCs like Too $hort and Eightball & MJG to smooth soul singers like Raheem DeVaughn.

Gavin DeGraw “Free”-The piano man returns barely a year after his last album with a stripped-down, raw set of original tunes and covers.

Flo-Rida “R.O.O.T.S.”- So I was watching MTV the other day and Flo-Rida was announcing videos, and he saw fit to explain his name as “Florida” broken up into “2 syllables”. Hey genius, both “Florida” and “Flo-Rida” have three syllables. Someone send dude back to 5th grade. Anyway, this guy’s had the #1 single in the country (“Right Round”) for something like 6 weeks now, so someone’s gonna buy this, right?

Get your complete list of this week’s releases right here.