My short list of the most anticipated album releases of 2006 – with tours certain to coincide – includes Maxwell, Outkast, the Roots, Scissor Sisters, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan and Nick Cave (all with discs due in Feb.); Neko Case, David Gilmour, Mogwai, Mudhoney, Stereolab, Morrissey, Monster Magnet and Pink (March), Peaches, the Flaming Lips, Secret Machines, Pearl Jam, Ministry and Thursday (April), Grandaddy, Hilary Duff, Incubus, Kelis, the Polyphonic Spree and PM Dawn (spring); the Hives (fall) and as-yet-unscheduled releases from the Arcade Fire, Ambulance Ltd., the reunited dB’s, the Decemberists, DJ Shadow, Franz Ferdinand, Peter Gabriel, Macy Gray, Courtney Love, Massive Attack, Modest Mouse, Mission of Burma, Primal Scream, Radiohead, Roxy Music, Smash Mouth and the reunited Smashing Pumpkins.

Also on the calendar are new releases from Richard Ashcroft, Robert Pollard, Dashboard Confessional and Cat Power (January); the Church, the Coup, Beth Orton, Kid Rock and Hank Williams III (February); Britney Spears, Kris Kristofferson and the Dixie Chicks (March); the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Christina Aguilera, Marilyn Manson, Matchbox 20, the Killers, Avril Lavigne, Built to Spill, Janet Jackson and Jessica Simpson (spring); My Chemical Romance, U2, Velvet Revolver, Evanescence, the New York Dolls, R.E.M., the Shins and Fall Out Boy (summer/fall).

Also: Audioslave, Beyonce, the B-52s, David Bowie, Buzzcocks, Charlatans U.K., the Clash (with Tim Armstrong of Rancid replacing Joe Strummer — ugh), Counting Crows, the Cure, Zach de la Rocha, Dinosaur Jr., Dr. Dre, Alejandro Escovedo, Green Day, Lauryn Hill, Ice Cube, Jay-Z, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Los Lonely Boys, No Doubt, Primus, the Rapture, Rush, Satellite Party (Perry Farrell and Nuno Bettencourt), Sonic Youth, Gwen Stefani, Sting, Sum 41, Tool and U2.

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