Sarah McLachlan Afterglow (Arista)
After the success over McLachlan's breakthrough, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, her albums have been packaged with an enigmatic sense of obligation on the part of the listener to be captivated. Truth is, her last record, Surfacing, was mediocre at best. But six years is a long time for fans to wait between albums—time enough to forget things like the mediocrity of past works. Afterglow has its bright spots to be sure—"Fallen," "Perfect Girl"—and its production quality is tops. Unfortunately, though, most of the material comes off as journal entries overly wrought into songs that drown in self-actualization. Bummer.
Release date: out now