With the S&P 500 up less than 4% during the first half of 2011, it is no surprise investors are looking for high-paying dividend stocks to boost their returns. Below are four stocks with above-average dividend yields that look attractive right now. (For more details, see How Dividends Work For Investors and The Importance of Dividends.)

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Crosstex Energy LP (Nasdaq:XTEX) is an independent midstream energy company that gathers, transports, processes and markets natural gas in the Barnet Shale in Texas and Louisiana. The current dividend is 6.4% and there is no P/E ratio because the company is not in the black when it comes to net income. However the price-to-sales number is attractive at 0.51. Technically the stock has been consolidating $17 and $18.50, a bullish signal after rallying from under $10 per share last year at this time.

Southern Company
(NYSE:SO) is an electric utility company that provides service to the Southeastern portion of the United States. It serves approximately 4.4 million customers mainly in four states in the region. The dividend yield is 4.7% and the stock trades with a forward P/E ratio of 14.9 and price-to-sales of 2.0. Technically the stock has pulled back from an all-time high it set in late May and is now beginning a new leg higher as money moves back into high-yielding utilities.

Seacube Container Leasing
(NYSE:BOX) principally engages in the leasing and re-leasing of containers to the transportation industry. The containers are both refrigerated and dry and are used to move goods via multiple modes of transportation that include ships, rail and trucks. The current dividend yield is 5.3% and the stock trade with a forward P/E ratio of 7.2 and price-to-sales of 2.4. The stock began trading late last year and has been a market leader even though a recent pullback has it sitting off the all-time high. However, the selloff in June could be the opportunity to get into an economically sensitive stock that pays a strong dividend.

WP Carey & Co. LLC
(NYSE:WPC) is a property management and development company that has a portfolio of approximately 167 properties representing 14 million square feet. They provide sale-leaseback and build-to-suit transactions primarily in the commercial real estate industry. The dividend is currently 5.4% and the stock trades with a forward P/E ratio of 18.0 and price-to-sales of 5.4. Technically the stock hit a new all-time high this week on heavy volume and must pullback to the $38 area before I would be comfortable building a new position.

More than Dividends
At the end of the day I rarely buy/recommend a stock based solely on a dividend yield because the end result is often not good. If a stock has strong fundamentals and/or technicals and a high dividend yield to boot, then I am game. The above stocks meet that requirement. (For related reading, see Dividend Facts You May Not Know.)

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