The Backstreet Boys have long settled into a blandish adult contemporary milieu. Shame. They rocketed to fame with earworm dance hits (Get Down) and innovative chair choreography (As Long As You Love Me), and remained relevant through roughly four albums thanks to a couple of millennium-pop-defining anthems (I Want It That Way, The Call). Max Martin wrote the opening track on each of those early records, as he does here on their eighth. But even the anthemic title tune can't hoist the group out of elevator-music territory.
Much better is the rootsy, 90s-Clapton-esque Try, where the BSB do what they do best at this point: time-tested lyrics, sweet harmonies, effortless bridges. A.J. McLean takes lead vocal duties - and his is by far the most interesting voice. Elsewhere they try too hard lyrically, and the results are embarrassing (Love Somebody). Still: maybe it's nostalgia, but even when they stumble, it's hard not to toe-tap along.
Top track: Try
The Backstreet Boys play the Molson Amphitheatre Wednesday (August 7).