as a fan for almost 5 years... and the band being together for about 20... I'm one of the few that love this new album. Dan the Automator produced it, of course it's going to be different.
The vocals and lyrics are on par if not better than previous releases. Just because the guitars aren't distorted and the time signatures aren't off... doesn't make me appreciate them less.
I would say lyrics are on-par with their last release, but even that wasn't very good. The lyrics for Catch Without Arms are vastly superior.
I agree that Dan The Automator played a huge effect on how different this album sounds.