Proof that Madonna's handlers have given up on her: Nobody stepped in and slapped the gap-toothed smile off her face when she insisted on rhyming the words York and dork. Well, at least she isn't trying to sound smart this time. On Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna makes progress in returning to form after the preachy, pale American Life, but this seamless, beat-filled ode to dance clubs isn't enough to restore her relevance. The problem is with the pop side, not the dance side. Madonna's personality, which turned previous techno thumpers "Ray of Light" and "Music" into all-out hits, has been muted on these dance cuts; she sounds like any other generic singer slapped onto a DJ track ... when she doesn't act like a dork, at least. The attempt at dancey NYC-related camp on "New York" is a lazy rip-off of Prince's "All the Critics Love U in New York." That almost makes me want to hear Madonna sing about the kabbalah again.