Buble Takes Down Bone Thugs In Mother’s Day Chart Melee

New albums from Bobby Valentino, Björk also crack chart's top 10.

Last week, Michael Bublé came so close to scoring the first Billboard albums chart #1 debut of his career, he could taste it. But then R&B hunk Ne-Yo burst Bublé’s bubble, scoring the top spot and leaving the Canadian crooner holding Billboard‘s silver medal.

But this week, it was Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s turn to feel the sting. Early sales projections had the group’s comeback LP, Strength & Loyalty, pegged for a #1 opening. But in the end — possibly due to a last-minute Mother’s Day sales push — the Bone couldn’t touch the Bublé.

While sales of Bublé’s latest, Call Me Irresponsible, dipped 32 percent last week, the LP still outsold Bone Thugs’ new one by about 25,000 copies, earning the singer with the hard-to-pronounce name a belated Billboard conquest, according to the latest SoundScan figures. Bublé’s album sold nearly 145,000 units to Bone Thugs’ 119,000. The group has bowed at the top twice before, with 1995′s E 1999 Eternal, which sold 307,000 copies, and 1997′s The Art of War, which scanned to the tune of 394,000.

Meanwhile, R&B heartthrob Bobby Valentino’s sophomore set, Special Occasion, opens at #3 on next week’s chart, having sold 91,700 copies during its first week at retail; Bobby’s no stranger to a #3 debut, as his self-titled 2005 LP also opened in third, but with much stronger sales of 180,000. Valentino’s was one of four new releases to make it into this latest top 10, and one of 15 new releases in all to impact the chart. Debuting at #7 is legend Barbra Streisand’s Live in Concert 2006, with close to 60,000 scans, and coming in at #9 is Icelandic songstress Björk’s Volta, which netted week-one sales of 43,000.

Surprisingly, Volta earns the distinction of being the first Björk album to debut in the top 10. Her two previous efforts, 2001′s Vespertine and 2004′s Medúlla, opened at #19 and #14, respectively, with stronger sales of 75,000 and 65,000. Ne-Yo’s Because of You slides three spots to #4 with 89,000 scans, while Avril Lavigne’s The Best Damn Thing follows at #5 on 70,800 units.

The self-titled debut from “American Idol” season five finalist Chris Daughtry’s eponymous rock outfit, Daughtry, inches up one spot to #6, with 66,800 copies sold, while Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts climbs two spots to #8 with 56,800 scans. The 24th installment in the Now That’s What I Call Music! compilation series rounds out the top 10, having sold an additional 40,700 copies, adding to its already 743,000 take.

New Moon, a two-CD/ two-LP posthumous compilation album from the late Elliott Smith, opens at #24 on Billboard‘s chart, with sales reported at 24,400; the singer died in unclear circumstances in 2003. DipSet: More Than Music Vol. 2, a collection featuring Diplomats members Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, Jim Jones, Hell Rell, J.R. Writer, 40 Cal. and others, follows at #26, with 23,000 scans. Meanwhile, Travis return to the top 200 at #58, with The Boy With No Name, which generated sales of 11,700, and coming in at #97 is the latest from rapper Sage Francis, Human the Death Dance, which sold 8,500 units.

Bone Brothers 2, a collaboration between Layzie Bone and former Bone Thugs partner Bizzy Bone, bows at #122 with 6,900 copies sold, while Punk Goes Acoustic 2, a collection of unplugged tracks from the likes of Jack’s Mannequin, Silverstein, the All-American Rejects, Relient K, and Sherwood, opens at #125, with 6,800 scans. The debut offering from “American Idol” season five finalist Paris Bennett, Princess P, debuts at #133 with more than 6,300 copies sold, and coming in at #197, with 4,300 copies sold, is Houston rapper Z-Ro’s new one, Power.