I’m trying to figure out why I’m so disappointed in The Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible. Maybe it’s just the usual sophomore slump. Maybe it’s the melodies, which seem to rely more heavily on minimal, repetitive figures than on the simple, clean lines of Funeral. Or it could be the lyrics, which are more political than personal, to the point of being downright tedious and preachy on a song like “Antichrist Television Blues.”

My biggest problem with Neon Bible may be the mix, although it feels lame to pan an album on technical grounds. I can’t help, though, but feel like the album sounds cloudy and dark, and that a lot of the parts bleed together, even when I listen on my fancy work headphones. The organ on “Intervention” should fill your ears with sound — that’s what organs are for. Instead, it just sort of hangs out in the background and gets blotted out by the other instruments. A band with musical ambitions as grand as The Arcade Fire’s should let all its voices come through and contribute, but that doesn’t seem to be happening here.

Things do come together on the album’s better tracks, like “Keep the Car Running” and “No Cars Go.” When they’re on, the group’s full-throated singing and propulsive rhythms are a true joy to listen to. I just wish more of the album got it right.

(Apropos of nothing: Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy co-arranged the string section on some of the tracks. Final Fantasy is really good and you should listen to them, even though the band’s name drives me completely up the wall.)