T.I., Pink, Shakira Can’t Shake Rascal Flatts From Billboard #1

No new releases crack the top 10 on the upcoming Billboard albums chart.

It looks like there just weren’t enough fresh albums to inspire many trips to the record store last week.

Not a single new release will crack the top 40 on the next Billboard albums chart. Nine newcomers debut within the chart’s top 200, but the rundown of the nation’s biggest sellers remains largely unchanged from the previous list, with country trio Rascal Flatts spending a third straight week at #1 thanks to sales of their Me & My Gang coming in at just over 143,000.

According to the latest SoundScan totals, the Dresden Dolls put up the week’s highest opening performance. The band’s sophomore disc, Yes, Virginia …, bows at #42 with 19,000 scans. Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing, the latest offering from veteran punks NOFX, debuts at #46 with sales nearing 18,000. The Drive-By Truckers’ new one, A Blessing and a Curse, comes in at #50 after selling close to 17,000 copies.

Southern hip-hop duo Da Backwudz’s Wood Work opens at #94 with over 9,000 sales, and rapper Pastor Troy’s Stay Tru debuts at #150 with 6,000 scans. Singer/songwriter Mat Kearney’s Nothing Left to Lose makes its mark in the #161 spot, after selling close to 6,000 copies, while gospel singer Anthony Burger’s Best of Anthony Burger comes in at #188 with sales of 5,000 and change. Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs’ collaborative Under the Covers, Vol. 1 pops up at #192 with close to 5,000 copies sold. Blood in Blood Out, by rappers Amb, just makes the cut, selling just shy of 5,000 to claim #199.

In all, the top 200 releases racked up close to 3.1 million in total sales — a drop of nearly 2 million from the previous week. Only a handful of albums scored sales increases — Rod Stewart’s 2005 release, Thanks for the Memory: The Great American Songbook, Vol. IV, is among them, returning to the chart at #58 thanks to a 253 percent sales boost and close to 15,000 copies sold. The legendary singer’s appearance last week on “American Idol” also helped sales of his 2004 album, Stardust … The Great American Songbook, Vol. III, which reappears following a long Billboard lull. That album occupies the #113 spot, selling more than 8,000 copies — a 226 percent increase in retail movement.

Sales of Fort Minor’s The Rising Tide jumped up by 45 percent, ending the week with nearly 9,000 scans, which sent the disc soaring 89 chart positions to #104. The band recently released its latest single, “Where’d You Go,” to rock radio and video outlets.

All of the albums that make up the top 10 suffered a sales slip from the previous week. While the Flatts LP holds the #1 slot, retail interest waned 58 percent during its third week in stores. The 21st installment in the Now That’s What I Call Music! compilation series — featuring hit singles from Mariah Carey, Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson and Fall Out Boy — climbs one spot to #2 despite a 56 percent sales lag, racking up 130,000 scans. The soundtrack to the Disney Channel original movie “High School Musical” moves from #4 to #3, with 116,000 copies sold, while Toby Keith’s White Trash With Money follows at #4 with week-two sales of 109,000.

T.I.’s King hangs tough at #5 with 86,000 copies sold, just in front of Tim McGraw’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2: Reflected, which netted another 59,000 scans. James Blunt’s Back to Bedlam follows at #7, with sales nearing 54,000, while Shakira’s Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 claims the #8 spot after moving 52,000 copies. Canadian songwriter Daniel Powter’s self-titled debut holds at #9, selling 47,000 discs its second week in stores. Pink rounds out the top 10 with 42,000 copies of I’m Not Dead sold.