Susanna Hoffs, the former lead singer of the underappreciated Bangles, takes a second stab at a solo career with this surprisingly palatable album. Unlike 1991's overproduced When You're a Boy, Hoffs' eponymous album plays to her strength, namely an ability to belt out a pop tune with conviction. She stands or falls on the strength of her material, and, by collaborating with Cracker's David Lowery and covering a Lightning Seeds song, she's gathered together at least half a good album. On the other half—such as "Eyes of a Baby," a treacly ode to motherhood, or "Weak With Love," this year's second John Lennon assassination song—Hoffs' kittenish growl just sounds all wrong. The top-secret celebrity karaoke bonus tracks, "To Sir With Love" and "Stuck in the Middle With You," end a pleasant but unextraordinary album on a pleasant but unextraordinary note.