Pretty Ricky, Shins rouse album chart from slumber

Mellencamp debut is his best ever

After several slow weeks at retail in which no title cracked the 100,000-copy plateau, quartets Pretty Ricky and the Shins achieve the feat with their new albums this week.

Rap/R&B ensemble Pretty Ricky's sophomore album, "Late Night Special" (Atlantic), opens at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 after selling 132,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan figures for the week ending Jan. 28. The group's first album peaked at No. 16.

The Shins, a rock band from Albuquerque, N.M., opens at No. 2 as "Wincing the Night Away" (Sub Pop) shifted a career-best 118,000. The band had never been higher than No. 86 on the chart, and Sub Pop's previous best was No. 79, with the Afghan Whigs' "Black Love" in 1996.

Last week's No. 1, Daughtry's self-titled RCA debut, slips to No. 3 on 80,000 units sold. "2007 Grammy Nominees" (Commercial Music Group) debuts at No. 4 with 77,000, topping the No. 14 debut and peak of last year's edition.

John Mellencamp celebrates his highest-debuting album ever, as "Freedom's Road" (UMe/Universal) opens at No. 5. The set, his first top 10 album in 10 years, moved 56,000 in its first week. Sony's "Dreamgirls" soundtrack slips four spots to No. 6 (56,000), while Akon's "Konvicted" (SRC/Universal) falls two rungs to No. 7 (50,000).

Robin Thicke's "The Evolution of Robin Thicke" (Interscope) leaps into the top 10 for the first time, jumping eight spots to No. 8 (45,000). The album benefited from extra attention on MTV and MTV2. Walt Disney Records' "Jump In!" soundtrack falls six slots to No. 9 (44,000), and Justin Timberlake's "FutureSex/ LoveSounds" (Jive) drops four to round out the top 10 (39,000).

Other new debuts this week include Saliva's "Blood Stained Love Story" at No. 19 (Island, 31,000) and the Good, the Band & the Queen's self-titled debut at No. 48 (Virgin, 15,000). Elsewhere, Regina Spektor hits a career high as "Begin to Hope" (Sire) bounds 14 spots to No. 20 with the biggest percentage gain on the Billboard 200 (48%). She was featured Jan. 21 on CBS' "Sunday Morning."

Album sales are up 4.9% from last week's total but down 14.5% from the same week a year ago at 8.49 million units.

Jonathan Cohen is senior editor at Billboard.
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