NINE INCH NAILS
''COME BACK HAUNTED''
The lead single from the first NIN album in five years (due Sept. 3) skews more toward keyboard-heavy new wave than raucous industrial squalor. It's hard not to miss Trent Reznor's old righteous rage, but a chorus this peanut-butter-sticky does help ease the pain. B+
The ''Brokenhearted'' duo's bass-thumping kiss-off is a jittery, hiccuping pop-rap experiment that finds frontwoman Amy Heidemann dismissing an ex with lines like ''Thought he was gluten-free/ But all that I got was bread'' over a looping beat. The song's got a hook, but it's all a little overbaked. C+
Talk a Good Game
Rowland serves up a smorgasbord on her triumphant and sometimes profane fourth studio album: Game's cup runneth over with confessionals (the endlessly blog-dissected ''Dirty Laundry,'' about her jealousy of former bandmate Beyoncé), baby-making slow jams (''This Is Love''), rap interludes (from Wiz Khalifa, Pusha T, and others), and a fine if underwhelming collaboration with her old pals (''You Changed'' with Destiny's Child). B+
Sixteen years after ''MMMBop,'' Zac, Taylor, and Isaac may not fill arenas anymore, but they remain some of the most praiseworthy purveyors of pretty piano pop. On funkified tracks like ''Get the Girl Back,'' the brothers expand their reach, inviting horns, handclaps, and shout-along choruses to the party. B+