2012 Music Preview: 10 Albums We Can't Wait for

Mumford & Sons
Last year was a big one for the banjo-toting British quartet: collecting Grammy nominations, collaborating with Bob Dylan and Ray Davies, hitting personal milestones (cough! Marcus Mumford getting engaged to Carey Mulligan, cough!). Somehow, though, they've managed to work on the follow-up to their stealth 2010 smash Sigh No More in spots ranging from a Nashville farmhouse to a U.K. studio. Bassist Ted Dwane has described the still-untitled upcoming album as ''doom folk, kind of like Black Sabbath meets Nick Drake,'' though we might detect some cheekiness there. Judging by the new songs that have already become live staples — ''Hopeless Wanderer,'' ''Below My Feet,'' ''Lover's Eyes,'' ''Lover of the Light'' — fans can expect to Sigh over more gorgeous folk-rock hymns. (TBA 2012)Melissa Maerz

Nicki Minaj
The deceptively titled Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (it's a whole new album, not a deluxe edition of her 2010 debut) focuses on Minaj's sociopathic alter ego, Roman Zolanski. Expect the sophomore effort to eschew radio-friendly jams like ''Moment 4 Life'' in favor of manic tracks like the breathless single ''Roman in Moscow,'' which Minaj considers an ideal entry point. ''It's like a trailer to the movie,'' she announces. ''I just wanted to touch the surface.'' If the outside is that insane, expect the center to be extra nutty. (Feb. 14)Kyle Anderson

Dierks Bentley
Home
After delving into bluegrass, Bentley's back to his country roots. (2/7)

Sleigh Bells
Reign of Terror
The party-noise duo return with more metallic(a) synth riffs and crushing choruses. (2/21)

Usher
Mr. Entertainment has hit the studio with a slew of big-name producers. (May)

Madonna
Guests Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., and Euro dance maestros galore: Her Madgesty loves good company.(Spring)

Maroon 5
Fans of sex-crazed singles from rock's Jagger-mover-in-chief Adam Levine, rejoice. (Spring)

The Killers
Brandon Flowers & Co. have tapped producer Steve Lillywhite (U2) for their fourth full-length. (Summer)

Ke$ha
The pop hellcat promises less party, more ''vulnerability,'' in 2012. (TBA)

Originally posted Jan 13, 2012 Published in issue #1190 Jan 20, 2012 Order article reprints