Old Blunty's capacity to churn out a commercial tune has never been in doubt, You're Beautiful being this century's ultimate two-step cheeseburger, designed for easy consumption by the masses.
He and producer Steve Robson (Take That, James Robinson) have striven manfully to emulate the successful formula, and there are two or three power ballads near that ballpark in this new album.
Best Laid Plans and No Tears plump for the plaintive piano with string backdrop option, swirling into starry-eyed choruses about angels. If Time Is All I Have cranks up the pathos in James's trademark tremulous vocal, but the song sadly wafts away on the over-emotive hot air.
Blunt tries to mix it up, striving for raunchiness on Turn Me On but sounds more like an overgrown schoolboy trying on his dad's clothes for size. Kings of Leon might be missing one of their bass lines, but ought to track it down lurking in the depths of So Far Gone.
I'll Be Your Man is Blunt getting in touch with his inner teen idol, all chugging acoustic guitar and an excuse to twitch the pelvis. All rather low-rent George Michael, to be honest, and Best Laid Plans is supermarket own brand Gary Barlow.
Then it all falls into place. James is the Chris De Burgh of his generation, with a hint of Gary: Tank Commander.
Download this: So Far Gone, These Are The Words
• This article was first published in the Scotland on Sunday on November 7, 2010