There isn't a lot of info out there on the aborted 1978/1979 album (I don't think Richard's ever spoken about it as an entity), but I think it was essentially nixed because Richard had to go into rehab. Looking at that list of tracks as well, it doesn't look much to me like the tracklisting for a finished album. For instance, some of the songs were recorded for TV specials rather than specifically for a forthcoming album.I really need to crank up the wayback machine, but I think the poor response to I BELIEVE YOU is what lead to the album being shelved. this is kind of a blur, because CHRISTMAS POITRAIT and THE SINGLES 1974-1978 were also released in that timeframe.
by the time LOVELINES was released, WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE had been a hit for England Dan a John Ford Coley, but I don't know if carpenters recorded it first or at the same time, as with TRYING TO GET THE FEELING AGAIN and Barry Manilow.
That does still leave the question open of why 'I Believe You' was released at all at this stage, given that (I suspect) they were still a long way off having a completed album for which it would be a lead single at that stage, plus the fact that it was coming out alongside a Christmas album it had nothing to do with - and also that Richard and Karen were in no shape to promote it either (and didn't).