A mere two or three years ago it looked like diva Mariah was going to unseat Whitney Houston as the mayor of Loco Town. In the wake of her tumultuous divorce from Tommy Mottola, the aged A and R man who fostered her career, she suffered a string of embarrassments: highly publicized hospitalizations, a terrible sound track, an even worse movie. She fell so far that Sonic Youth even dedicated a sympathetic tribute song to her. But her last record, 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi, was her best since 1997's Butterfly, 14 cuts of stripped-down pop & B plump with the two things Carey made de rigueur: rapper cameos and rampant melisma. With Biggie samples, a Jeezy verse, animal-alerting high notes, and smooth ballads that are sure to make many proms and wedding receptions that much more special, Mimi proves Mariah's truly back to her old self. Sean Paul opens. Mon 9/11, 8 PM, United Center, 1901 W. Madison, 312-455-4500 or 312-559-1212, $9.60-$125. All ages.