I was blown away by the Mints when I saw them opening for Apples in Stereo a few years back. At the show, I bought The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of and listened to it probably 100 times. It's an exceptional album - my only complaint is that it was too short. And they were a much better live band than the Apples.
So Built on Squares comes out just as I had forgotten about the Mints. I listened to the samples on Amazon.com, and much to my surprise, I wasn't impressed enough to pay for the album. Then they come to San Diego to play (this time as the headliners) and so I go. They sounded good, but there's been some personnel changes. And I'm just not getting into the new songs. The songs from the first album still sound great live, though, so it's not like the band isn't up to snuff anymore. Maybe they're just in a songwriting slump.
But I buy Built on Squares at the show, still hoping that it'll grow on me after a few spins at home. Unfortunately, it hasn't. There are a few flashes of brilliance (Brass Digger, Buena Vista), but mostly the songwriting sound forced. The abrupt changes that sounded so inspired on the first album don't work as well here; they usually interrupt the flow of the songs in a distracting and annoying way.
And then there's a song called "San Diego". Of course, I really wanted to like this one. It turns out to be the weakest track on the album. Bummer.
But that's just my opinion.