There will be lots of surprises along the way, and they've happened already.
Last week, R&B superstar The Weeknd announced "Dawn FM," a new album with such guest stars as Tyler, the Creator, Lil Wayne, Quincy Jones and Jim Carrey, and released it a few days later.
For most of the albums coming in the first few months, we have fair warning and a chance to build up anticipation.
Elvis Costello & the Imposters, "The Boy Named If": The 32nd album from the British post-punk legend promises "urgent, immediate songs" that he says "take us from the last days of a bewildered boyhood to that mortifying moment when you are told to stop acting like a child -- which for most men (and perhaps a few gals too) can be any time in the next 50 years."
Cat Power, "Covers": The indie-rocker offers a dozen covers by such artists as Frank Ocean, The Pogues, Bob Seger, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Billie Holiday and The Replacements.
Earl Sweatshirt, "SICK": The Odd Future rapper says his fourth album, featuring collaborations with Armand Hammer and Zelooperz, "is my humble offering of 10 songs recorded in the wake of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns."
The Lumineers, "Brightside": The fourth album from the "Ho Hey" band, produced by longtime collaborator Simone Felice (Felice Brothers), was recorded over two sessions in the Catskills with the group joined by singer Cindy Mizelle (Bruce Springsteen), James Felice and Diana DeMuth.
Billy Talent, "Crisis Of Faith": The Canadian punk band's sixth album features "End of Me," a single with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo.
Kiefer Sutherland, "Bloor Street": The latest album from the "24" actor was produced by Chris Lord-Alge (Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood) and covers a range of heartland rock, country-rock and old-school R&B.
Anais Mitchell, "Anais Mitchell": The first solo album in more than a decade from the Tony- and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and creator of "Hadestown" chronicles her reconnection with her Vermont roots.
Eels, "Extreme Witchcraft": The band's 14th album is the first collaboration between frontman Mark Oliver Everett, aka E, and producer-guitarist John Parish (PJ Harvey) since "Souljacker," one of the best albums of 2001.
St. Paul and The Broken Bones, "The Alien Coast": The first album from the soul-rock band tracked in its hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, promises a "fever dream convergence of soul and psychedelia, stoner metal and funk."
Jethro Tull, "The Zealot Gene": The 22nd album from the legendary British prog-rock band is its first collection of new songs since 1999's "J-Tull Dot Com."
Aaron Lewis, "Frayed at Both Ends": The fourth album from the Staind frontman is his first collaborating with Nashville songwriters.
EarthGang, "Ghetto Gods": Sophomore album from the Atlanta duo of Olu and WowGr8.
Animal Collective, "Time Skiffs": The Baltimore experimental rock band's 11th album and first in six years is described as the "collected transmissions of four people who have grown into relationships and parenthood and adult worry."
Korn, "Requiem": A press release for the 14th album from the nu metal band notes that during the pandemic Korn took "additional time to experiment together or diligently recording to analog tape -- processes which unearthed newfound sonic dimension and texture in their music."
Bastille, "Give Me The Future": The British pop-rockers best known for "Pompeii" have fashioned a fourth album that's "a sci-fi wonderland free from restrictions."
Mitski, "Laurel Hell": The much-anticipated sixth album from the Japanese American indie-rocker follows 2018's "Be the Cowboy," which topped Pitchfork's year-end list.
Slash feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators, "4": The fourth album from Gun N' Roses guitarist Slash and Alter Bridge singer Kennedy was produced in Nashville by Dave Cobb, whose resume includes Chris Stapleton, John Prine, Jason Isbell and Brandi Carlile.
Saba, "Few Good Things": The third album from Chicago rapper whose "Care for Me" was named one of Pitchfork's Best Rap Albums of 2018.
Eddie Vedder, "Earthling": The Pearl Jam frontman worked with producer Andrew Watt (Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Ozzy Osbourne) on his third solo album and first since 2011's "Ukulele Songs."
Spoon, "Lucifer On The Sofa": Frontman Britt Daniel says the Austin indie-rock band's 10th album is "the sound of classic rock as written by a guy who never did get Eric Clapton," adding "I spent a lot of 2018 and 2019 listening to ZZ Top."
Alt-J, "The Dream": The fourth album from the quirky British alt-rock trio is the followup to 2017's "Relaxer" and comes in advance of their tour with Portugal. The Man.
Big Thief, "Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You": The Brooklyn indie band spent five months in four recording sessions creating 45 songs, which were narrowed down to 20 for this double-LP. Several of them feature Richard Hardy, the flute/sax player who did sessions with Carole King.
Frank Turner, "FTHC": The British folk-punk describes his ninth album ("Frank Turner Hardcore") as "direct and raw" and a way to "restate his purpose as an artist."
Sea Power, "Everything Was Forever": The first album in five years from the post-punk revival band formerly known as British Sea Power.
Voivod, "Synchro Anarchy": Drummer Michel "Away" Langevin said of the Canadian progressive metal band's 15th album, "We feel that the sound and music are 100-percent Voïvod, and we hope everyone will enjoy it as much as we had fun making it."
Beach House, "Once Twice Melody": The Baltimore indie-rock band's eighth album consists of 18 songs, released in four chapters, culminating in the complete collection released on this day.
Khruangbin and Leon Bridges, "Texas Moon": An extension of the four-song "Texas Sun," this collaboration between the artists is described as "an introspective stroll through the dark."
Midnight Oil, "Resist": The 13th and "final" album from the Australian political alt-rock band that debuted in the late '70s and peaked in the late '80s.
Hurray for the Riff Raff, "Life On Earth": The eight full-length album from Bronx-born, New Orleans-based Americana artist Alynda Segarra features 11 new "nature punk" tracks, led by a single, "RHODODENDRON," which she says is about "finding rebellion in plant life."
Tears For Fears, "The Tipping Point": The first album in 17 years from the New Wave duo that gave us such hits as "Shout" and "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" began as a record by committee with some current hit songwriters before becoming more of an internal project.
Soft Cell, "Happiness Not Included": Soft Cell and Tears for Fears on the same day! The impetus for the first album in 20 years from the New Wave synth-pop duo behind "Tainted Love" was the "final" show at The O2 in London in 2018.
Dashboard Confessional, "All The Truth That I Can Tell": For his ninth album, recorded in the aftermath of a near-fatal motorcycle accident, Chris Carrabba teamed up with James Paul Wisner, who produced Dashboard's first two studio records.
Johnny Marr, "Fever Dreams Pts 1-4": The former Smiths guitarist said of this 16-track double-album, released in four chapters, "There's a set of influences and a very broad sound that I've been developing -- really since getting out of The Smiths until now, and I hear it in this record."
Spiritualized, "Everything Was Beautiful": On the British space-rock band's ninth album, Jason Pierce, aka Spaceman, plays 16 different instruments and employs more than 30 musicians and singers, including his daughter Poppy, longtime collaborator and friend John Coxon, string and brass sections, choirs and finger bells and chimes from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
Band of Horses, "Things Are Great": Frontman Ben Bridwell says the Seattle indie band's sixth record and first with Matt Gentling and Ian MacDougall, is "a return to their earlier work and the kind of raw ethos that lies at the heart of Band of Horses."
Bryan Adams, "So Happy It Hurts": The 15th album from the Canadian rocker is led by a title track that he says is "about freedom, autonomy, spontaneity, and the thrill of the open road."
Charli XCX, "CRASH": The fifth album from the British electropop star was advanced by the song "Good Ones," which she called "a track signaling a new chapter for me in which I embraced all that the life of a pop figurehead has to offer in today's world -- celebrity, obsession and global hits."
Midlake, "For The Sake Of Bethel Woods": The Texas psych/folk band's first album since 2013 is named for the site of 1969 Woodstock festival, which was attended by keyboardist Jesse Chandler's late father. It is their first time working with an outside producer, John Congleton (St. Vincent, Explosions in the Sky, Sharon Van Etten).
Phife Dawg, "Forever": The posthumous album arrives on what would have been the 51st birthday of the A Tribe Called Quest rapper. The work in progress was completed by longtime associate Dion Liverpool and includes "Nutshell Part 2," featuring guest appearances by Busta Rhymes and Redman.
Animals as Leaders, "Parrhesia": First album in six years from the instrumental progressive metal band.
F--ed Up, "Do All Words Can Do": Nine-track compilation of rarities and B-sides from the Toronto hardcore band focuses on songs from 10 years ago.
Jack White, "Fear Of The Dawn": This is the first of two new albums from the former White Stripes frontman, followed on July 22 by "Entering Heaven." They will be two distinct albums "defined by different inspirations, different themes, different moods."
Father John Misty, "Chloe And The Next 20th Century": Josh Tillman's fifth album of Father John Misty, the followup to 2018's "God's Favorite Customer," was produced by longtime collaborator Jonathan Wilson and features arrangements by Drew Erickson.