The first thing you'll notice about Ray LaMontagne's sophomore record is that it sounds a lot like his debut. The soft, almost whispering voice that excited so many people in 2004 returns unchanged. He's still accompanied by delicate acoustic strumming, and his lyrics full of emotional stories carry the album. The formula that worked on Trouble succeeds again here. He's tried to fix a few glitches: a funk track breaks up some of the record's monotony, and his lyrics have grown more vivid. Unfortunately, the record still suffers from sameness. A pretty voice can only go so far - if LaMontagne really wants to make a lasting impression he needs to take a few more risks.
LaMontagne plays the Music Hall Monday (August 14).