Simon Vozick-Levinson
July 15, 2009 AT 07:24 PM EDT

Stop me if this sounds familiar: American consumers bought a stunning 1.1 million Michael Jackson albums last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. One disc alone, the greatest-hits set Number Ones, accounted for 349,000 in sales, far more than any album in the country. Yet since Number Ones is an old release, Billboard rules exclude it from the flagship Billboard 200 albums chart along with all the other Jackson discs that have been selling in large numbers following his tragic passing. This is now the third week in a row that Number Ones‘ posthumous sales have wreaked havoc by outperforming the Billboard 200’s No. 1, something that had previously never happened in the publication’s history. For the next few weeks, at least, you’ll have to look at Billboard‘s Top Comprehensive Albums chart — a less commonly referenced index which, true to its name, collates all album sales information regardless of release date — to get an accurate picture of what’s selling in the U.S.

Still, we shouldn’t let this situation distract us completely from the fantastic numbers put up by Maxwell’s BLACKsummers’night, which tops the Billboard 200 with 316,000 copies sold. Looks like the singer’s eight-year hiatus built up some serious fan demand for his new one. No complaints from me: It’s a great record that deserves that No. 1 spot, even if it got there via a loophole of sorts. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus’ latest project — that’d be Hannah Montana 3, in case you’ve lost track — moved 137,000 units. That’s not quite up there with the mega-sales she saw for her first two TV soundtracks, but it still won her a No. 2 finish on the Billboard 200. Pop-punkers All Time Low, meanwhile, secured themselves an all-time high (see what I did there?) after selling 63,000 copies of their album Nothing Personal, good enough for No. 4.

And that was it for Top 20 debuts this week. Thoughts on those numbers? How much longer do you think Michael Jackson’s catalog sales will keep outperforming new releases?

More from EW’s Music Mix:
Michael Jackson outsells everyone; NOW! 31 tops the albums chart anyway
Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein is trying to become a Phish fan. Any chance she’ll succeed?
Worst cover song of 2009? We have a winner!
Wilco hits a grand slam at Brooklyn’s Keyspan Park with help from Yo La Tengo and special guests

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