By Mikael Wood
January 21, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST

With 2005’s How to Save a Life, these ?Denver-based soft-rock dudes proved that one way to stay afloat in a beleaguered record industry is to make music bland enough to avoid offending any palate. (Another good idea: Land songs in seemingly every show on TV.) Life had a handful of standouts, but follow-up The Fray is all blah, all the time: more ? minor-key melodies, more dreary tempos, more of singer-pianist Isaac Slade’s spiceless sore-throat croon. One track is called “Say When.” How about now? C?

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