The career of the erstwhile AOR chart-toppers in The Black Crowes would seem to be on the upswing, with a welcome label change and a wave of publicity surrounding singer Chris Robinson's recent marriage to star du jour Kate Hudson. There's just one problem: With Lions, the band has dropped its biggest dud, a moribund disaster with no more than a tiny handful of salvageable songs. "Midnight From The Inside Out" opens the album on a reasonably high note, though it continues to rack up Robinson's unacknowledged vocal debt to Billy Squier, and "Come On" provides an appropriately hedonistic, slickly remixed highlight. But virtually everything else is a turgid, awful mess, trafficking in dull funk- and blues-inflected rock that lacks the hooky snap of the group's best work. "Soul Singing" has enough sparkle to overcome the presence of a cheesy gospel chorus, but that song is surrounded by disjointed misfires (the single "Lickin'"), deathly boring blues ballads ("No Use Lying"), and woefully tuneless train wrecks ("Losing My Mind," which may be The Black Crowes' worst song to date). Lyrically, hoary tropes abound—"Don't want you 'round my backdoor," et al—and the music is rarely any more inspired. Life may seem good for The Black Crowes' members right now, but it's never been harder for the band's listeners.