35extontherecord1-2 What's hot and what's not in this week's new releases.

Sheffield indie-rockers Arctic Monkeys return with their third album, Humbug - will it sustain the incredible momentum built up by its two chart-topping predecessors? Elsewhere, there are new releases from Icelandic multi-instrumentalists Mum and Brendan Benson, plus a live set from Neil Diamond.

Arctic Monkeys - Humbug With this their third album since 2005, not including Alex Turner's affair with Last Shadow Puppets, no-one could accuse Arctic Monkeys of resting on their laurels. Keen to revamp their sound, they decamped to America to record with long-time admirer Josh Homme, who produces seven of the 10 tracks here. The result is, as you might expect given the head Queen Of The Stone Age's involvement, a heavier, more textured album. However, the quirky rhythms and idiosyncratic melodies that characterised the Sheffield quartet's first two albums have decreased dramatically, overshadowed for the first time by Turner's increasingly ambitious lyrics. My Propeller, with cheeky double-entendres, and Secret Door's charmingly old-fashioned mentions of a "miserable little tyke", particularly stand out. Humbug may be Arctic Monkeys' third-best album so far, but even with its slight flaws - and they are only slight - they're still so far ahead of the chasing pack it barely matters.

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Andy Welch) The Soundtrack Of Our Lives - Communion Swedish six-piece Tsool offer up a healthy portion of epic rock with 24 tracks on this album. For fans this should be a mighty big present, but it's all a bit predictable and repetitive. There are very few stand-out tracks and it seems to lose its way after about the fourth song. Unfortunately the band have made the schoolboy error of forgetting that less is more - it's hard to find the singles among all the B-sides. It's a shame because there are a few good tunes on the album - you've just got to wade through the muddy waters to find them.

Rating: 5/10 (Review by Polly Weeks) Neil Diamond - Hot August Night Having undergone Rick Rubin's patented 'Johnny Cash treatment' with a pair of critically-acclaimed new albums in recent years, Neil Diamond has returned to reclaim his back catalogue. On this energetic live set, he presents a career-spanning look at his past, but stripped of some of the gauche production which all-but ruined his reputation. He is still a hammy performer - how could one perform Sweet Caroline in any other way? - but in this more considered setting, that is more endearing than cloying.

Rating: 7/10 (Review by Rory Dollard) Various artists - I Love You, Beth Cooper Looking at the tracklisting for this soundtrack, it's no surprise the film is a teen flick. It's full of emotional American teen pop such as the opening track Forget Me by Violet Columbus. What's more, there's a great big slab of indie pop such as The Kooks, Gym Class Heroes, and OK Go to go alongside it. There are a few surprising song choices (which probably make sense when you're watching the film) such as Feels Like The First Time by Foreigner and Cruisin' by Smokey Robinson. If you become an instant fan of the film, then it's probably worth buying the album, otherwise it's not a classic.

Rating: 6/10 (Review by Polly Weeks) Ramona Falls - Intuit Menomena are one of indie-rock's best-kept secrets, which must be very frustrating if you are one of the band's members. Intuit is the first full-length offering from the side-project of Brent Knopf, one-third of that Portland-based outfit. It shares the lush arrangements, bombastic percussion and eclectic instrumentation of his other band, along with silky, frayed-at-the-edge vocals perfectly pitched to tug at the heartstrings. These ingredients come together to make up a beguiling, at times dazzling album, one that deserves far better than its presumed fate of becoming just another obscurity on the record-store shelves.

Rating: 7/10 (Review by Simon Harker) Mum - Sing Along To Songs You Don't Know The Icelandic group are known for their alternative indie-pop tunes, where they use self-made instruments to create some of the most individual music out there. This album is no different. The Smell Of Today Is Sweet Like Breastmilk In The Wind is not only one of the most inventive song titles but also a great up-tempo pop number. Likewise A River Don't Stop To Breathe is instantly likeable, full of serene vocals. The one thing you can be guaranteed with this release is that you won't find the songs formulaic. That said, there are a couple of slightly dreary moments such as Hullaballabalu. However this isn't a big turn-off, and this is a thoroughly charming album.

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Polly Weeks) Brendan Benson - My Old, Familiar Friend Sixties-inspired, catchy and utterly loveable: this sums up the critics' responses to Brendan Benson's third album Alternative To Love. But the Michigan singer-songwriter's follow-up My Old, Familiar Friend is likely to disappoint his happy-go-lucky fans. Every song on this guitar-led pop album has a single hook which repeats and repeats, until you want to chuck Benson, and his formulaic tones, out the window. Admittedly there's plenty of variety. But whether he's littering his songs with strings, drums, a little electro-pop or whimsically strumming to himself, Benson doesn't achieve anything original. While others might like this sweet album filled with 'power pop' tunes, this reviewer cringed at teenage pop-rock numbers like Poised And Ready. Perhaps Benson, a member of The Raconteurs along with Jack White, has been listening to a little too much McFly and not enough Beatles.

Rating: 4/10 (Review by Sarah O'Meara) Imogen Heap - Ellipse Where Beth Orton often seemed a little uncomfortable with her 'comedown queen' tag, London songwriter Imogen Heap has always appeared a natural heir. Since going solo, the former Frou Frou frontwoman has been carving out a name for herself in the US with her soundtrack-friendly take on electro-pop. A plum spot in series two of The OC made her a household name stateside, but her latest album is more Postal Service than teen drama. Last Train Home and Tidal are the choice picks on an album that gives 'tasteful' a good name.

Rating: 7/10 (Review by Rory Dollard) Love Like Fire - Tear Ourselves Away The San Francisco shoegazer foursome release their third album since forming in 2006. It's full of Arcade Fire-style drum beats, repetitive guitar riffs and rather lovely vocals courtesy of lead singer Ann Yu. The album is a bit hit and miss. For example, From A Tower is boring but the two follow-up songs, Crow's Feet and Signs, are of a great quality. The best song on the album is the aptly-named Good Judgement, with angular guitar notes and a singalong middle eight - this track highlights all the good parts of the band.

Rating: 7/10 (Review by Polly Weeks) Kate Walsh - Light And Dark A country-pop offering from the Essex lass, this is Kate's third album and follows on from the last two rather nicely. Unfortunately this is unlikely to break into the charts, but it should be well-received by her fans and offer a nice alternative to other country releases out there. On paper, this album seems like it's been made for Radio 2. Like a cross between Sheryl Crow and Katie Melua, the smooth style is instantly likeable. It's probably not an album to listen to on repeat as it will quickly become stagnant.

Rating: 6/10 (Review by Polly Weeks) Singles By Polly Weeks :: Lily Allen - 22 The mouthy London pop songstress may have a good back-catalogue behind her, but sadly this won't be one for the collection. It's just a bit dull, and there would have been better single choices on the album.

:: Erik Hassle - Don't Bring Me Flowers The 1980s synth-pop trend continues with this debut offering from 20-year-old Swede Erik Hassle. While it'll be fun to dance to, it's pretty much throwaway.

:: Noah & The Whale - Blue Skies Ahead of their new album The First Days Of Spring, Charlie Fink and his band offer up a wonderful slice of orchestral indie pop. Expect great things from the Twickenham band's forthcoming album.

On the road Upcoming tours :: The Dead Weather - the supergroup made up of Alison Mosshart (The Kills), Jack White (The White Stripes), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs) have announced a UK tour for October. Expect gigs in Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham and London. For full details visit www.thedeadweather.com.

:: Scottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini will be heading out on a UK tour following his North American jaunt. Beginning September 27 in Blackpool's Empress Ballroom, he'll be strutting his stuff until October 15 at Glasgow's O2 Academy. For further details visit www.myspace.com/paolonutini.