There’s a handful of big-name records coming out today, but not a heck of a lot beyond that. Let’s take a look at what’s new and important in record stores and online today.

Beyonce I Am…Sasha Fierce:
Dumb title, dumb concept. Decent album? Maybe? Mrs. Carter’s third album is split into two discs (although it could very easily fit onto one) in order to display the two sides of Beyonce’s personality. Save me the hocus-pocus and just give me good music, OK? I actually like Beyonce a lot (although not as much as our own GG, who has not wiped up the drool yet), and hope that the decidedly average B-Day was an aberration. If I Were a Boy gives me a little hope, but Single Ladies takes it right back. So, basically a crapshoot. But it’ll sell like hotcakes anyway.

Nickelback Dark Horse:
Love ’em or hate ’em, these guys’ last album sold 7 million copies, a rarity in any climate, damn near impossible to do these days. They did it not by selling tons of copies in the first week, but by releasing single after single that connected with pop and rock radio. Critics still spit at the mere mention of their name, but something tells me Chad Kroeger will take the sales over the critical accolades anyway.

David Cook David Cook:
I’m very curious to find out if anyone cares about this album. Earlier in the year, me and most of the rest of the MHW panel disagreed on whether a David Cook album would actually sell. I’m still not entirely convinced that this will be a success-I mean, there’s gotta be a reason Archuleta’s album came out first, right? Then again, something tells me that the same people buying Nickelback’s album are going to pick this one up, so there may be hope for Mr. Cook yet.

Dido Safe Trip Home:
Dido is kind of like the white Sade. Her music is smooth and mellow without being boring. There hsn’t been much buzz around Safe Trip Home, her third album. I’m not sure if Dido’s an artist who really needs a buzz though. I mean, a Sade album could come out with no advance publicity or even a video and sell a million copies.

Shontelle Shontelligence:
She’s Barbadian. She’s produced by the same guys that brought you Rihanna. All of which is to say that Shontelle is basically being groomed as Ri-Ri 2.0. Her single,
T-Shirt, is a hit (although I can’t say I’ve heard it). Let’s see if lightning can strike twice.

The remainder of the release schedule is pretty thin. There’s a new set from jazz/adult contemporary trumpeter Chris Botti…the return of the cougar’s boy band, Il Divo… a new effort from Sammy Hagar, which features fellow exiled Van Halen member Michael Anthony…a new album from country star Blake Shelton…a new one from acclaimed metal outfit Mudvayne…and on the reissue tip, a 2-CD, 1-DVD anthology celebrating the career of Rod Stewart, which hopefully forgets about the whole standards thing.

Get your full list of releases here.