MAY 23 RELEASES
Angels & Airwaves, We Don't Need to Whisper (Geffen)
With this new project, blink-182 co-frontman Tom DeLonge forsakes three-chord riffs and booby jokes for the calculated angst of '80s greats like the Cure and U2.
Michael Bolton, Bolton Swings Sinatra: The Second Time Around (Passion Music/Concord)
The man who dared to remake near-perfection (see Otis Redding's ''Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay'') also appears to have no compunction stepping to the Chairman of the Board. Bonus: a duet with fiancée Nicolette Sheridan!
Def Leppard, Yeah! (Island)
Pour some covers on me! Everybody's favorite band with a one-armed drummer returns, kicking out vintage jams like the Police's ''Roxanne,'' Blondie's ''Hanging on the Telephone,'' and more.
Dixie Chicks, Taking the Long Way (Open Wide/Columbia)
The most radical Chicks in the business of country return. If you're wondering how they feel about the controversy that made them both admired and reviled, the song title ''Not Ready to Make Nice'' offers a pretty good clue.
Dr. John, Fuel Presents an Introduction to Dr. John (Fuel)
Katrina benefit albums may have put the Dr. back at the forefront, but this leader of the N'awlins sound R&B, traditional blues, and rock, with a Mardi Gras kick has been around far longer; find out why.
Juana Molina, Son (Domino)
If Ricki Lee Jones were an Argentinean television actress with a gift for haunting, exotic melodies, she would be Juana. You need speak neither Spanish nor Portugeuse to enjoy, however.
Pet Shop Boys, Fundamental (Parlaphone/EMI)
Long since grown into Pet Shop Men, the clever dance-pop duo come again with, of all things, a song penned by schlock-ballad queen Diane Warren.
Phoenix, It's Never Been Like That (Astralwerks)
Though its singer may soon become more famous as Sofia Coppola's baby-daddy-to-be, this French outfit's floaty, gorgeous yacht-rock deserves its own props. So, props!
The Walkmen, A Hundred Miles Off (Record Collection)
The masters of balancing preppy ennui with latent rock rage return. But can anything top 2002's transcendent car-commercial ballad ''We've Been Had,'' or last album's snarling anthem ''The Rat''?
The Wreckers, Stand Still, Look Pretty (Maverick/Warner)
Michelle Branch, along with partner Jessica Harp, attempts to shake off the teen-pop mantle with this slick new side project.
MAY 30 RELEASES
Sophie Barker, Earthbound (Emperor)
Barker, late of Zero 7, those heroes of sexy elevator-Muzak atmospherics, strikes out on her own with this British debut.
Legendary Pink Dots, Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves (ROIR)
Legendary perhaps only in their own small circle, but memorable nonetheless. The band's post-punk psychedelia sound goes back 25 years, but stays largely current.
Les Claypool, Of Whales and Woe (Prawn Song)
He's the unchallenged Master of the Funky Bass a title that either makes you go ''Yessss! Turn it up!'' or makes you run screaming to a dark corner, where you pluck out your eyelashes one by one. Take your pick.
Peeping Tom, Peeping Tom (Ipecac)
Is there anything Mike Patton can't do? The erstwhile former frontman of Faith No More and Fantomas takes this round with guests like Norah Jones, Massive Attack, and Kool Keith.
George Thorogood and the Destroyers, The Hard Stuff (Eagle Rock)
Lovers of bearded blues-rock unite: Mr. ''Bad to the Bone'' and his crew return with an album of originals, plus a few covers.