November 03, 2008 12:00 PM

JON McLAUGHLIN OK Now
As far as piano men go, he’s no Billy Joel. Heck, he’s no Gavin DeGraw. Still, McLaughlin, who’s been getting face time on VH1 with his soul-kissed single “Beating My Heart,” is better than just OK on his latest effort.

LABELLE Back to Now
On this reunion album, their first since 1976, Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash get their funk-soul groove back with help from producers Lenny Kravitz, Wyclef Jean, and Gamble & Huff.

CRAIG MORGAN That’s Why
Solid but unspectacular, the country singer will satisfy old fans and maybe even win a few new ones. Highlights include “Lookin’ Back with You” and “It Took a Woman,” two ballads that show his sentimental side.

RAY LAMONTAGNE Gossip in the Grain
With his richly textured voice, LaMontagne can elevate even the most mediocre material. But when he has a truly good tune, like the retro-soulful “You Are the Best Thing,” it’s really something special.

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