Compact Picks

WYCLEF JEAN Preacher's Son The former Fugee is as ecleftic as ever, tapping guests like Scarface, Santana, Patti LaBelle, and U2's the Edge. Just don't expect to hear from former bandmate Pras, whom 'Clef recently compared to Milli Vanilli. THE BUZZ Last year's Masquerade was a commercial and critical disaster. At least Rob and Fab moved units. (10/28)

NOVEMBER

RYAN ADAMS Rock N Roll Q: What do Ryan Adams and Radiohead have in common? A: They're both perpetually rumored to be making straight-ahead rock records...and never do. But wait -- this title's no joke! Adams really is cranking it to 11 with a self-professed '''80s rock'' album. THE BUZZ Sounding less like Glen Campbell and more like the Goo Goo Dolls could boost Adams to mainstream stardom. Or just make him another Johnny Rzeznik-come-lately. (11/4)

P.O.D. Payable on Death San Diego's favorite ''we're Christian but not Christian rock'' nu-metallers soldier on. Look for more attempts at take-me-higher anthems and less rapping than on 2001's triple-platinum Satellite. THE BUZZ Strident first single ''Will You'' lacks the catchy uplift of their smash ''Alive,'' but the youth of the nation may still have faith. (11/4)

IGGY POP Skull Ring The big draw is four new tracks by the original three Stooges -- Ig, guitarist Ron Asheton, and drummer Scott Asheton -- who haven't recorded together in 30 years. Elsewhere, Pop's new band of young punks tries to invoke the sound and fury of the Ashetons, with varying degrees of success. THE BUZZ The disc's sheer raw power ought to please believers. (11/4)

JOSH GROBAN Closer Groban steps outside the Opera Boy box with his sophomore effort; recordings that might make the final product range from a cover of Michael Jackson's ''She's Out of My Life'' to a Deep Forest collaboration. He's also recording orchestral material in Italian, French, Spanish, and -- most importantly -- the language of love. THE BUZZ Modern-day Caruso or one-man boy band? Groban still has that particular lucrative crossover niche all to himself. (11/11)

METHOD MAN Tical 0: The Prequel Five years after his last solo disc, Meth mans the mic along with guests Ludacris, Missy Elliott, Snoop Dogg, and Redman, while RZA, P. Diddy, and others provide the beats. THE BUZZ Even with his guest spot on Mary J. Blige's ''Love @ 1st Sight'' reintroducing him to the charts, the CD will have to be top-notch to remind a wide audience that budding actor Meth (How High) also raps. (11/11)