Dion's 'Day' in 2nd place; Hill at 3

Record buyers clamored for a “lisen” of the latest effort from Philly-born neo soul heartthrob Musiq, vaulting his new disc “Juslisen” to No. 1 in its debut week on the album charts.

The Def Jam/Def Soul release scanned more than 260,000 copies, according to data compiled by Soundscan, knocking former No. 1 act Big Tymers to No. 8. Sales of the rap duo’s third LP “Hood Rich” (Universal) sank by 42% to 93,000 in its sophomore sesh.

Def Soul topper Kevin Liles ascribes Musiq’s first-week perf — which quadrupled the opening numbers of his debut, 2000’s “Aijuswanaseing” — to a strong word of mouth following, which gave the new record a built-in audience.

“He sold 47,000 copies the first week out on the last album, but he eventually went from that to 1.5 million,” Liles told Daily Variety. “On your second release, when you have a huge organic following like that, the record will start strong out of the gate.”

Dion sales up 40%

But nipping at Musiq’s heels was French-Canadian diva Celine Dion, whose latest record, “New Day Has Come” (Epic), rebounded four places to second and boosted sales by more than 40% to 143,000.

Lauryn Hill bowed at third place with “MTV Unplugged No. 2.0″ (Columbia), selling more than 122,000 copies. Hill set the bar high when her groundbreaking 1998 solo debut “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” sold nearly half a million units out of the gate; “Unplugged” is her first record of new material since that release.

After a long absence from the charts, erstwhile hip-hop stars Naughty By Nature also hit the ground running with “Iicons” (TVT), which opened at a surprisingly strong 15 and sold nearly 49,000 units in its first week out.

Waits shocker

Another shocker was gravely voiced troubadour Tom Waits. His simultaneous releases “Blood Money” and “Alice” — both on indie label Anti- Records — bowed at 32 and 33, respectively. Between them, the two discs sold nearly 64,000 units.

A pair of acclaimed singer-songwriters continued their steady ascension this week. Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me” (Blue Note) gained a hefty 20 places to 17, boosting sales by almost 50% and breaking into the top 20 for the first time.

And Atlanta-based songsmith John Mayer’s “Room for Squares” (Columbia) jumped four more spots to 32, with a sales gain of just under 20%. “Squares” is on the cusp of gold certification, having moved 455,000 copies to date.

Also scoring a top-50 bow was L.A. goth-metal act Coal Chamber, whose third record, “Dark Days,” (Roadrunner/IDJ) made it to 34 on sales of 31,000 discs.

Next week’s charts will see a rash of strong new contenders. Rap impresario P. Diddy’s “We Invented the Remix” is a contender for the top spot, while rapper Cam’ron, geek-rock pioneers Weezer and electronica guru Moby are all in the running for single-digit bows.

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