BoDeans: Blend

In the decade or so since Milwaukee's BoDeans started making records, the band has struggled to find a sound that satisfied both its loyal fans and its not-so-loyal critics, who have often gone after the group for emulating arena-rockers from Springsteen on. BoDeans' new Blend (the band's first studio album since the Party of Five theme song "Closer To Free" hit big) finds the group settling into a safe, comfortable rock sound. It's still mixed with big-sounding rock songs and dramatic ballads in mind, and it still connects on those levels. Though far from the band's finest moment—Sammy Llanas sounds just a little too much like Journey frontman Steve Perry on "Heart of a Miracle" and "All I Ever Wanted"—it's a solid, non-threatening, 10-song non-statement from a likable Midwestern institution.

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