By Chuck Arnold
April 23, 2012 12:00 PM

>MONICA

New Life

Monica’s latest opens with a phone call with Mary J. Blige, making New Life a nod to My Life. Unfortunately, this album can’t touch that MJB classic. And while it’s another dependable effort, there’s really not much new here. []

M. WARD

A Wasteland Companion

The alt-folkie gets help from his She & Him cohort Zooey Deschanel for two tunes on this outing. But from the breezy ditties (“I Get Ideas”) to wistful musings (“The First Time I Ran Away”), this is rightfully all about him. []

SCARS ON 45

Scars on 45

This buzzy British quintet will have you basking in the radiant pop glow of their debut album this spring. Danny Bemrose and Aimee Driver share lead vocals, both of them singing on the Grey’s Anatomy-endorsed single “Heart on Fire.” []

PAUL WELLER

Sonik Kicks

Thirty-five years after the Jam’s first album and 20 years after his solo debut, Weller is still kicking butt. His latest opened at No. 1 in the U.K., and with songs like “That Dangerous Age,” he proves that Brits had soul long before Adele. []

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