Mariah Stops The Rock, Reclaims Billboard #1

Eight weeks after taking top spot, Mimi sneaks past System to do it again.

Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi really is a comeback album.

The pop diva's latest LP first hit stores nine weeks ago, and, thanks to sales that topped 403,000, Mimi debuted atop Billboard's albums chart. But since the album's impressive opening, Carey has taken a back seat to some of rock's biggest names. She's finished out each subsequent week since the disc's release as either the chart's #2 or #3 album. This week, however, Carey's competition couldn't outrun her.

As her latest single, "We Belong Together," dominates the singles chart, Carey once again finds herself at the top of the Billboard albums heap. According to the latest SoundScan figures, Mimi scored eighth-week scans of more than 171,000, earning the disc its second #1 showing and pushing total sales of the album past the 1.7 million mark.

Overall, it was a relatively sluggish week at retail. Only one of the chart's top five finishers experienced increased album sales: No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani's solo debut, Love, Angel, Music, Baby, benefited from a 9 percent sales surge, climbing five positions to take the #5 spot with more than 83,000 scans.

Last week's #4, System of a Down's Mezmerize, comes in at #2 despite a 30 percent sales slide, with third-week sales of just fewer than 118,000 albums. Audioslave's Out of Exile, last week's #1, checks in at #3, with close to 99,000 scans. Second-week sales of the supergroup's sophomore release slumped 62 percent.

Country star Toby Keith's Honkytonk University climbs one chart slot to #4, with 85,000 plus scans, while rapper Common's Be falls four spots to #6, with a second-week showing of more than 77,000 copies, reflecting a 58 percent drop in retail interest. Dave Matthews Band holds on to the chart's #7 rank with sales of nearly 76,000 for the group's latest offering, Stand Up. 50 Cent's The Massacre returns to the top 10, jumping three spots to #8. The album sold just shy of 76,000 copies, for a 14-week total of close to 3.8 million.

America's first "Idol," Kelly Clarkson, was one of the few artists on the chart whose album earned increased scans. Breakaway surged by 12 percent, securing Clarkson the #9 slot with sales of more than 69,000. "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell's boy-band creation Il Divo rounds out the top 10 with their self-titled debut, which sold 69,000 copies. A 38 percent spike in retail interest gave the soundtrack from "The Longest Yard" — which features cuts from Eminem, T.I. and Nelly — the chart's #11 spot. The album moved just under 66,000 copies, outperforming the latest release from Brit rockers Oasis by a mere 450 albums. Don't Believe the Truth, the brothers Gallagher's first album in close to three years, scored the week's biggest debut with close to 66,000 scans.

Country trio Rascal Flatts' Feels Like Today finishes at #13, with close to 58,000 scans. Hip-hop cartoon act Gorillaz fall from #6 to #14, with second-week sales for the band's latest, Demon Days, reported at just under 55,000. Las Vegas synth-rockers the Killers climb five spots to #15, moving over 48,000 and change for their debut LP, Hot Fuss.

It was a feeble week for new releases. The Kottonmouth Kings' self-titled latest album finished at #50 with 20,000 scans, while Better Than Ezra's Before the Robots scored the chart's #84 spot with a 14,000-plus showing.

Layzie Bone's solo disc It's Not a Game broke the top 100, coming in at #96 with sales of close to 12,000, and metal act Meshuggah's Catch Thirty-Three took #170 with opening-week sales of almost 6,000.

Soundtracks Surge

It was a good week for soundtrack sales, as the musical companions to the theatrical releases "Madagascar" and "Lords of Dogtown" netted big second- and third-week totals. The soundtrack to "Madagascar" — featuring material from Grammy winner Hanz Zimmer as well as hits such as the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" — leaps 110 chart positions to #36 its second week out, moving more than 25,000 copies for a 258 percent increase in retail interest. The "Lords of Dogtown" disc, which includes Social Distortion's rendition of the Clash's "Death or Glory" as well as cuts from T. Rex, Foghat, Nazareth and Ted Nugent, makes its first appearance in the top 200, coming in at #156 with scans of close to 6,700. The album, which hit stores on May 24, enjoyed a 171 percent sales jump from the previous week.

Boob-Tube Boosts

Mötley Crüe's latest album, Red, White & Crue, reappears in the top-200 this week at #149, thanks to a 37 percent sales surge that followed in the wake of a documentary on the band. The VH1 series "(Inside)Out" debuted an episode titled "Resurrecting Mötley Crüe" on May 30, and the show also ran again this past weekend. The program documents the Crüe's recent reunion, and also recounts the drug-fueled, booze-heavy history of one of the 1980s' most notorious acts. Red, White & Crue moved close to 6,900 copies this past week.

Similarly, an appearance on the WB series "Smallville" help augment sales of Lifehouse's new self-titled album. Sales of the record shot up 14 percent to just over 19,200, scoring the group a #54 Billboard showing. Meanwhile, sales of Joss Stone's latest album continue to rise, thanks to her appearances in Gap television spots. This week, Mind Body and Soul checks in at #32, up five chart positions with sales of 27,000 plus.

Feeling the Phunk

The new album from the Black Eyed Peas, Monkey Business, just hit stores on Tuesday, and anticipation for the release may have helped the Peas' hit disc Elephunk jump ahead 20 positions to #82. The album performed to the tune of 14,300 and then some, which translates to a 38 percent retail revving.

Eminem's Encore has been out for more than a year, but the success of Detroit's favorite son's current single, "Ass Like That," helps the disc make the Billboard climb to #67, up nine chart positions. The album experienced a 14 percent spike in sales and finished off the week with close to 17,500 copies sold.

Limp No-Show

And the downward spiral continues. As expected, Limp Bizkit's The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1), has fallen out of the top 200. The record, released five weeks ago, opened at #24 but gradually slid to #195 a week ago. This time, Truth only scored 3,800 scans (see "Limp Bizkit: What Happened?").