It's been a few years since Madonna released her last album of original material, and in that time, a whole new crop of budding pop divas -- including Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Ke$ha -- has emerged.

But it won't be long before Madonna returns to reclaim the throne. According to a recent interview, she's nearing the finish line on her next album, the follow-up to 2008's 'Hard Candy,' and plans to release it next spring.

For the new set, Madonna reunited with William Orbit, the producer who manned the boards for her 1997 'Ray of Light' effort. The duo is currently tracking in a studio in New York, where she plans to remain for the rest of the year. At the moment, she plans to release the album's first single in February or March of 2012.

The currently-untitled new album will be Madonna's first for a label other than Warner Bros. -- 'Hard Candy' represented the end of her 25-year association with the company, including the more than 15 years Warners distributed Madonna's successful Maverick Records imprint.