I just noticed that iTunes has changed the sort order as of version 7.3. After the update, the band “…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead” no longer appears at the top of my library and instead appears where they would be if they dropped the ellipsis from their name. Similarly, 2 Many DJs, 3 Doors Down and their ilk now appear at the bottom of the list.
The changes in sorting are documented in this Knowledge Base article. From the way the article is worded, it would seem as if the sorting order is fixed in iTunes and doesn’t honour the “Order for sorted lists” (see image below) preference in the International preferences pane, but I haven’t had a chance to verify this.
Overall, I think the new sorting makes a lot of sense — numbers are sorted numerically, leading space, punctuation and articles are all ignored and numbers are placed after the alphabet. Good stuff. In many ways, iTunes 7.3 was a solid upgrade even if most of the changes were quite subtle.