After that, it's a mixed bag with little whole or new about it. The title song has a terrific chorus that sounds ready-made for the radio without being disingenuous. Several songs are dominated by Leventhal's craftsmanship; he plays most of the instruments throughout, leaving Colvin without a guitar. But for all the songs' appeal, most sound like leftovers from Repairs with drum programs, strings and keyboards discreetly tacked on. The limp middle third of the disc suffers most from this malady. "Another Plane Went Down" wastes a slyly evocative "Did she say that?" lyric (You and the Italian woman naked/your fingers between her legs) on a slow shuffle that waits too long to get to a ghostly chorus. "Bound to You" and "Roger Wilco" are tuneless and polite.
For better or worse -- and with most artists, it's worse -- Colvin now has a familiar sound. Not just because it's a Shawn Colvin disc does each song, taken separately, sound just like a Shawn Colvin song, as heard on Fat City and especially Repairs.
By the time the more melodic "One Small Year" and "I'll Say I'm Sorry Now" close the album, Whole New You has been overloaded with slow ballast. Those last numbers recover the emotional, if not musical, momentum. Colvin, often mislabeled as a folk singer, is really a pop singer who is one of the best conveyors of disappointment working today. The final moments of Whole New You finally transcend the torpor, but too much of the disc mistakes that gift for singing about disappointment with disappointing the listener.