Death Cab for Cutie

Steve Granitz/

Just like NYC on a rainy day, there was no stopping this cab ride.

For the first time in their decade-plus career, Death Cab for Cutie found itself a spot atop the Billboard 200. For the week ended Sunday, their new album Narrow Stairs ascended to No. 1 on 144,000 copies sold, per Nielsen SoundScan.

The Evergreen State rockers benefited from massive touring, critical praise and the album's top 10 modern rock single "I Will Possess Your Heart."

Formed in the late '90s, the indie act broke into the mainstream with 2003's Transatlanticism, which landed key TV song placements, most notably on The O.C. The group soon signed to Atlantic and established their previous chart high with 2005's Plans opening at No. 4 on its way to platinum sales.

Frank Sinatra's Nothing but the Best, released in connection with the decennial anniversary of his passing, sold 99,000 copies in the No. 2 spot. The hits package marks Old Blue Eyes' best chart position since Duets opened in the same spot nearly 15 years ago.

Jason Mraz's We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. sold 73,000 copies at No. 3, besting the singer's previous No. 5 chart high for 2005's Mr. A-Z. The Grammy-nominated singer, who leads at radio with "I'm Yours," found inspiration for the new album from several spiritual books anonymously left outside his hotel room while on an Australian tour.

Retro-pop singer Duffy made new releases four-for-four at the top with her rookie bow, Rockferry, selling 71,000 copies at No. 4. The Welsh singer, dubbed one of the "new Amys" (as in Winehouse) by the British press, already spent several weeks atop the U.K. album chart. Her hit single "Mercy" also made her the first Welsh female to top the U.K. pop charts in a quarter-century.

With four big bows up top, Neil Diamond's first career chart-topper, Home Before Dark, skidded six spots to No. 7 on 53,000 units.

Keith Sweat capped the top 10 bows in the No. 10 spot, selling nearly 37,000 copies of Just Me, his first new album in six years.

10 Years' Division missed the top 10 by just two spots, selling 28,000 copies at No. 12. The week's other noteworthy bows included the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian soundtrack at No. 40, Filter's Anthems for the Damned at No. 42 and Iron Maiden's '80s retrospective Somewhere Back in Time at No. 59.

Overall, album sales were down nearly 9 percent from last week and down over 13 percent compared to the same sales week in '07, when Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight made its monster debut.

To recap, the week's top 10 albums were as follows:

  1. Narrow Stairs, Death Cab for Cutie
  2. Nothing but the Best, Frank Sinatra
  3. We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things, Jason Mraz
  4. Rockferry, Duffy
  5. Spirit, Leona Lewis
  6. E=MC2, Mariah Carey
  7. Home Before Dark, Neil Diamond
  8. Hard Candy, Madonna
  9. 35 Biggest Hits, Toby Keith
  10. Just Me, Keith Sweat
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