I finally listened to this disc for the first time over the weekend.
My first impression is that this is one of the weakest VM discs, for sure. Monotonous/lineal and a bit tedious, awfully produced and with annoying backing chorus... Particularly, a few songs and lyrics do suck, but... Actually, it is not the end of the world as it has been described in the Guardian review and in this thread! As commented above, VM's voice is in good form and the blues/R&B is all over the place... which is not intrinsically bad!
My personal view is that the reviews are more politics-oriented than they should be, while acknowledging that our old-grumpy is perfectly capable of getting on almost everyone's nerves...
So, place it in very distant and non-easily-reachable place in your shelves, and turn the page!