We can all be thankful that someone was able to talk the Red Hot Chili Peppers out of their plans to release a 38-song trilogy and convinced them to drop a condensed 28-track double disc instead. Even so, the filler-rich Stadium Arcadium, produced by Rick Rubin, just confirms the conventional music-biz wisdom that no double album set, given some judicious editing, wouldn't be better as single album. Now that the Chili Peppers are settling comfortably into middle age, their hardcore party jams are increasingly rare, replaced here by sensitive ballads about girlfriends who got away, the mystical unknown and the passing of family pets. Sadly, that's what happens when former fratboy funksters stop walking around with tube socks on their dicks. On the upside, the growing maturity of John Frusciante's guitar work turns a few otherwise mediocre tracks into album highlights. In fact, he almost single-handedly saves the project, but not quite.