By Rob Brunner
Updated March 29, 2009 at 08:56 PM EDT

Just got back from a Sunday trip to Target for some toilet paper, a tube of Colgate, and the new Prince album, which went on sale today exclusively at the big-box retailer. Here’s a quick report (on Prince, that is; the other two are performing more or less as expected).

First, the good news. On the surface, at least, this is a fantastic deal. Three CDs — Prince’s new Lotusflow3r and Mplsound albums, plus another disc he wrote and produced for new protege Bria Valente — for $11.98. That’s well over two hours of music for the price of most single-disc albums. Also, there’s…well, that’s pretty much the only good news. Because after dragging myself through the whole thing, this is Prince’s most disappointing set in years. Only a handful of the Prince-sung tracks make much of an impression (if you must, check out “4Ever,” which builds to a nice climax, and “U’re Gonna C Me,” a decent-enough falsetto ballad), while the rest sound dreary and tossed off (the lowpoint: a half-hearted cover of “Crimson and Clover” that mixes in a bit of “Wild Thing” for no discernible reason). It’s tempting to say Prince just didn’t have the material to fill out two full albums, but a single disc of highlights would still represent a baffling comedown from his often-excellent previous three albums. And by the time he got around to poor Valente’s disc, Prince had obviously completely run out of tunes. Her Elixer is a total waste, a 45-minute slog through sleepy, tuneless, listlessly sung lite-R&B tracks that wouldn’t have made the cut on a third-rate Vanity record. As a massive Prince fan for 25 years now (Purple Rain is still probably my favorite album) it pains me to say this, but Lotusflow3r just isn’t isn’t worth your cash — even at a mere $3.99 a disc.

Has anyone else heard this new set? Weigh in below — or if you’re as disappointed as I am, reminisce about your favorite Prince album of years past.