By Chuck ArnoldChris StraussRalph NovakV.R. PETERSONEricka Souter and MARY ACOYMO
Updated July 31, 2006 12:00 PM

Johnny Cash, American V: A Hundred Highways: Recorded in the months before his death, this haunting disc finds the country legend poignantly looking back on the road traveled and facing his final journey.

Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint, The River in Reverse: Wry veteran Costello joins New Orleans piano man and R&B treasure Toussaint on a memorable album full of irresistible grooves and social commentary.

India.Arie, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship: On her inspirational third album, Arie finds strength, courage and wisdom from a failed relationship. Play this the next time you feel the urge to burn all his stuff.

Julie Roberts, Men & Mascara: Roberts’s blues-tinged vocals deepen the indigo shade of the country tunes on her achingly good second CD, which should come with waterproof mascara.