For the first time since November, five of the top 10 albums on The Billboard 200 this week are debuts. The strongest of these, the late Notorious B.I.G.’s “Greatest Hits,” bows at No. 1, selling 99,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The Bad Boy release is the rapper’s third chart-topper, his second posthumously, and features two previously unreleased tracks, “Running Your Mouth” and “Want That Old Thing Back.” The rapper, born Christopher Wallace, was murdered 10 years ago almost to the date, on March 9, 1997.

Montreal-based rock troupe Arcade Fire scores its best charting and sales week ever with the No. 2 bow of sophomore Merge set “Neon Bible.” Moving 92,000, the set trumps the No. 131 peak of the seven-piece’s 2004 debut, “Funeral.” Thirty percent of the new album’s sales were fueled by sales via digital retailers. “Neon Bible” also crowns the Top Independent Albums and Top Rock Albums tallies.

After leading the big chart last week, Daughtry’s self-titled RCA debut slips to No. 3 with a 9% sales dip at 82,000 copies. Akon’s “Konvicted” (SRC/Universal) drops 3-4 with 76,000, a 3% sales boost.

Another “Greatest Hits” bows in the top tier this week, as country crooner Gary Allan’s MCA Nashville set moves 70,000 at No. 5. It’s the artist’s second-best charting album (2005’s “Tough All Over” peaked at No. 3) and his second set at the summit on the Top Country Albums chart.

Relient K’s “Five Score and Seven Years Ago” (Gotee/Capitol) debuts at No. 6 on The Billboard 200 with 64,000, a high-water mark in both respects for the five-piece. The band’s last album, “MMHMM,” debuted and peaked at No. 15 on the big chart in 2004 with 51,000.

Norah Jones’ “Not Too Late” (Blue Note) falls 2-7 with 59,000 (-19%) while Fall Out Boy’s “Infinity on High” (Island) descends 4-8 with 58,000 (-14%).

Korn earns its seventh top 10 hit with “MTV Unplugged,” which enters at No. 9 with 51,000. The hard rock group has previously led the chart with 1998’s “Follow the Leader” and 1999’s “Issues,” while its last effort (last year’s “See You on the Other Side”) bowed at No. 3. Robin Thicke’s Interscope album “The Evolution of Robin Thicke” rounds out the top tier, slipping 5-10 with 47,000 (-17%).

Sevendust’s “Alpha,” released via the band’s own Seven Bros. imprint, starts at No. 14 with 42,000, the rock band’s eighth set on the chart. “Alpha” is the follow-up to 2005’s “Home,” which debuted and peaked at No. 20.

Other big debuts this week include Finger Eleven’s “Them Vs. You Vs. Me” (Wind-Up, No. 31, 19,000), Air’s “Pocket Symphony” (Astralwerks, No. 40, 17,000) and Chimaira’s “Resurrection” (Ferret, No. 42, 16,000), all of which are charting bests for those bands.

In a second week straight where no album cracks 100,000 copies, album sales are up 2% from last week’s total at 8.66 million units and down 19% compared to the same week last year. Overall album sales for the year are down 16.4% from last year at 90.7 million units.

Credit: Billboard/Reuters


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