Sometimes not-so-good things come from those who wait. Four years—a pop-music eternity—have passed since Ghost of a Dog, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians' unsuccessful follow-up to their 1988 platinum debut, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars. On both, Brickell was a barefoot Daisy Age throwback, offering zingers like "I'm not aware of too many things/ I know what I know if you know what I mean" (from the 1988 hit "What I Am") over lazy acoustic shuffles. But she's doffed all those hippie pretensions on her solo debut (coproduced by husband Paul Simon) for an easy-listening sound that, while undeniably pretty, is often just plain monotonous.
In the early days, Brickell's songs worked well because, despite her slight vocals and facile lyrics, the simple tunes had energy and bite. But much of the new record lacks that vitality. Except for a few reminders of brighter days (the title song, "Hard Times," and Barry White's scene-stealing basso profundo on "Good Times," the first single), this Picture Perfect Morning is mostly cloudy. (Geffen)