That half, led by the now de rigueur sensitive number, "Wonderful," doesn't diverge much from the Pilots' previous path. Guitar effects and a firm backbeat push Weiland along on that song, making room for a double-tracked, heroic-chord-change chorus and Dean DeLeo's pretty -- yes, pretty -- slide solo. It's futile to resist "Wonderful," the next song, "Black Again," and the electric-piano-driven follow-up, "Hello, It's Late," all near-perfect imitations of actual decent pop songs.
But don't worry. The other half, including the equally de rigueur bid for hard-rock airplay, "Dumb Love," recapitulates most of STP's insincere tics and tackiness. STP is still a band that genuflects to chunkiness, its rhythms and stuttering guitar parts farting like Pavarotti after a trip to Olive Garden. This time, the group almost leaves behind its insufferable impulse toward romanticizing lost-boy bullshit instead of just making lost-boy rock.