A few disconnected comments about new music I've purchased recently... check AllMusic.com or Amazon.com for audio samples:
The Postal Service—Give Up: Several people have suggested this to me, and it's hot. It reminds me of Air, but it's more energetic and focused on the poetic vocals. It is electronic and proud of it. I almost didn't buy it a week or so ago because of the terrible sample clips on Amazon. I like the whole CD, but "Clark Gable," "Such Great Heights," and "Nothing Better" are my favorites so far. They've earned a "guaranteed preorder of next album" award from me.
Vanessa Carlton—Harmonium: A fine album in its own right, but I've been waiting for this for a while, and it didn't quite meet my expectations. It's a lot more depressed and a little less poppish than her previous album, Be Not Nobody. "Who's to Say" and "C'est la Vie" are my favorite tracks. (The title of this post is from "C'est la Vie.")
Newsboys—Devotion: This was the most crushing disappointment. Newsboys is one of my favorite bands, and this album doesn't sit with me at all. I'm not quite ready to say that it sucks, but it's almost all "big" rock ballads, and sounds an awful lot like their first three albums, of which you may have guessed I am not a fan. Their last several albums had been sonic glory. "When the Tears Fall" is probably my favorite track, but none are particularly essential.
Heather Nova—Siren: Heather Nova is joining Frou Frou, one of my absolute favorite one-CD bands, so I figured I had to check out her earlier stuff. I guess that you'd classify this as Adult Contemporary, but I'd just say that it's not all that good. "Winterblue" might be the best track. I think that her voice will be pleasant next to Imogen Heap in Frou Frou's next album, though.
Yuval Ron—One: Powerful, exciting, awe-inspiring. It could be described, I suppose, as a Middle Eastern symphony, but it's chock-full of guest artists, giving it a very wide variety of sounds and styles in one CD. "Ahava Yeshana" and "Duna at Night" stand out for me, but they all fit together so well that it's hard to pick one or two tracks out of the mix. I'm definitely going to get more of this guy's stuff.
Zero 7—When It Falls: A little electronica, a little trip-hop, and a little jazz. I have problems describing things that I really, really like, and this CD is one of those things. There's a lot to like here, and it blends a lot of styles together into something unique and wonderful. You know it's good if I admit that it's jazz-influenced and I still like it a lot. "Look Up" is absolutely fantastic; "Warm Sound" and "Home" are also favorites.
String quartet tribute to 311: I actually didn't buy this one; I heard it thanks to Matt. This is obviously a novelty album; much of it is pretty painful. There are actually a couple tracks that are pleasant ("Beautiful Disaster" seems to work weirdly well as a string quartet), but there are more that are hideous. Stay away.
Hope you enjoyed my retarded little mini-reviews. I've got nine more CDs currently in transit, including some random purchases from new artists, so you can probably expect another post or two on CDs pretty soon. :)