Lavigne bests rivals in album sales

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Avril Lavigne scores her second No. 1 on the Billboard 200 as her third album, "The Best Damn Thing," bows on top. The RCA set moved 286,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, short of the 381,000 that greeted her first chart-topper, 2004's "Under My Skin." Sales were fueled by her current single, "Girlfriend," which is No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Nine Inch Nails' sixth studio release, "Year Zero" (Nothing), enters at No. 2, selling 187,000 copies. As previously reported, its release was preceded by guerrilla marketing efforts to raise awareness of the album. The first single "Survivalism" already peaked at No. 1 on the modern rock tally. NIN's previous album, 2005's "With Teeth," opened with 272,000.

The "Now 24" hits compilation slips to No. 3 after two weeks at No. 1 with 68,000 copies, a 24% sales decrease.

"American Idol" Season 5 finalist Bucky Covington's self-titled Lyric Street debut starts at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on Top Country Albums with 61,000 units. On the latter chart, it's the biggest start by a new male artist since Billy Ray Cyrus' "Some Gave All" debuted with 90,000 in 1992.

Martina McBride's "Waking Up Laughing" (RCA) ascends from eighth to fifth with 55,000, a 10% sales increase. Sales were helped in part by the country singer's appearance last week on "Idol." Akon's "Konvicted" (SRC/Universal) slips from No. 3 to No. 6 with a 13% drop to 52,000, and Daughtry's self-titled RCA effort falls from sixth to seventh, also with 52,000 (a dip of 4%).

Tim McGraw's Curb set "Let It Go" moves from No. 2 to No. 8, with a 22% decrease, to 51,000. Carrie Underwood returns to the top tier as "Some Hearts" (Arista Nashville) moves from No. 14 to No. 9 with 45,000 (a gain of 24%). Timbaland's Mosley Music Group/Interscope set "Timbaland Presents Shock Value" descends from fifth to 10th with 40,000 (a 32% drop).

Only two other releases bow inside the top 100 spots on the Billboard 200 this week. Country artist Clay Walker earns his best charting week ever as "Fall" (Curb) enters at No. 15 with 32,000. R&B singer Lumidee's sophomore set "Unexpected" (TVT) starts at No. 44 with 16,000. Her first album, "Almost Famous," peaked at No. 22 in 2003.

Album sales are up 1.3% from last week's total at 8.16 million units and down 10.7% compared with the same week last year.
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