Pearl Jam poised for first No. 1 album in 13 years

Eddie Vedder, lead singer of Pearl Jam, opens with his band for U2 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, December 9, 2006. REUTERS/Lucy Pemoni

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Pearl Jam is on course to nab its first No. 1 album on the U.S. pop chart in 13 years next week.

Industry prognosticators suggest the band’s new “Backspacer,” released on Sunday, could shift anywhere between 175,000 to 200,000 copies by week’s end. That sales figure should easily place it ahead of the competition when the Billboard 200 chart for the period ended September 27 is published on Wednesday.

The new album -- Pearl Jam’s first not with a major label -- is sold exclusively in the United States through Target, iTunes, Pearl Jam’s Web site and independent retailers.

The group’s last studio release, 2006’s self-titled set, bowed at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with 279,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. The band last graced the No. 1 slot way back in 1996, when “No Code” became its third chart-topper.

Since “No Code,” the group has notched three No. 2 albums (“Yield,” “Binaural” and “Pearl Jam”) and a No. 5 set with “Riot Act” in 2002.

Other albums looking to enter high on the Billboard 200 chart next week include Three Days Grace’s “Life Stars Now,” Five Finger Death Punch’s “War is the Answer,” David Gray’s “Draw the Line” and Mika’s “The Boy Who Knew Too Much.” The current champ is Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint 3,” which sold 298,000 copies during the week ended September 20.