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Arcade Fire plots spring tour

By David J. Prince

NEW YORK (Billboard) - The Arcade Fire, the acclaimed Canadian indie rock band that exploded onto the international scene with 2003's "Funeral," is nearing completion of its as-yet-untitled third album and plans to return to the stage in 2010.

The album, which according to Billboard sources is on track for a May release, will be Arcade Fire's first set of new material since 2007's "Neon Bible." The band has not performed publicly since January 21, when it played at the Obama Campaign Staff Ball at the DC Armory after the presidential inauguration.

While details of the new album are scarce, the BBC revealed Tuesday that the band has spent the past six months ensconced in the studio with producer Markus Dravs, who has worked with the likes of Coldplay, Bjork and Brian Eno, and served as engineer on "Bible." According to British musician Marcus Mumford, Dravs has called the band's new songs "better."

Billboard sources say the album will be preceded by a single release earlier in 2010. The band is weighing multiple offers for live shows in the spring, and likely will take a top slot at one or more of the major North American summer festivals.

"Funeral" has already been named one of the top albums of the decade by such varied outlets at NPR's All Songs Considered, NME and Pitchfork, which rated it No. 2 on its list of "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s." "Funeral" has sold 466,000 copies in the United States, and "Neon Bible" has sold 420,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

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