This CD cover image released by Sugar Hill Records shows "The Way I'm Livin'," by Lee Ann Womack. (AP Photo/Sugar Hill Records)

For more than a decade, Lee Ann Womack ranked as the most traditional female artist in contemporary country music, holding on to old-school values in themes and arrangements as others in the genre kept incorporating more pop rhythms and rock energy.

This CD cover image released by RCA shows "X" by Chris Brown. (AP Photo/RCA)

Brown captures attention from the get-go, opening “X” with the chilly first lines of his title track: “If you’re only as good as the company you keep/Then I’ma blame you for what they say about me,” he sings, taking listeners on a slow, dark cruise that eventually erupts into a crush of dubstep and electronic stylings from track producer Diplo.

This CD cover image released by Columbia Records shows "Partners," by Barbra Streisand. (AP Photo/Columbia Records)

Streisand sings with a stellar list of partners on her 34th studio album, including the awesome and unexpected: Andrea Bocelli, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds (who co-produced the album), Blake Shelton and Elvis Presley.

This CD cover image released by Big Machine Records shows "Sundown Heaven Town," by Tim McGraw. (AP Photo/Big Machine Records)

At age 47, McGraw hits home with reflective songs about love and modern life — especially those of a mature Southern man seeking balance between the past and present.