December 06, 2010 12:00 PM

>NE-YO

Libra Scale

Although not quite up to 2008’s Year of the Gentleman, this is more suave R&B full of subtle pleasures. On creamy jams like “Crazy Love,” the spirit of MJ continues to be alive and well in Ne-Yo. []

LEE DEWYZE

Live It Up

Expectations were not the highest for DeWyze, given the lackluster Idol season he won. Still, his unassuming appeal and textured vocals help this pop-rock effort. []

NELLY

5.0

The rapper found chart bliss again with “Just a Dream,” on which he breaks out his croon. But the whole singing thing wears thin on the mushy “Nothing Without Her.” []

RASCAL FLATTS

Nothing Like This

While there’s nothing much different going on here—and the production is still too slick—this country-pop trio makes it all go smoothly on cuts like the breakup ballad “Easy.” []

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