I always feel the world of melodic guitar music; power pop, indie pop – whatever you want to call it – is fraught with danger and strewn with potential pitfalls. When it's done well – The Shins, Superchunk, Youth Lagoon, various Slumberland bands spring to mind – it's irresistible, sweet and smile inducing. But when it's bad, it's either abysmally executed or, perhaps more unforgivably, just a bit drab. It's that fine line that New Orleans duo Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, together known as Generationals, have been walking since their 2009 debut album Con Law. Their second album, released a couple of years ago saw them aligning with the good stuff but with the release of their latest album Heza the band are quietly slipping towards the boring.

For a band that got their name from political goings-on during the Obama-McCain race to the White House, there's very little edge to what Generationals do. Sure, when it's good it's very good indeed but when it's not as hooky or interesting, then most of Heza tends to drift by almost unnoticed. Opening track 'Spinoza' falls into the former as the album leaps out of the blocks: simple, edgy, sunny guitar pop, with some delightfully burbling synths underneath...nice, and nicely done. Then there's the addition of female backing vocals on the slower 'You Got Me', which vibes on slightly calypso-y stabs of organ and is rather lovely, and then the change of pace of 'I Never Know' – all shakers and bluesy riffing – and the forceful jam of 'I Used to Let You Get to Me' is very welcome to break up the rather consistent mid-pacing of the record as a whole.

And yet, the rest of Heza just fails to stir any feelings other than ambivalence: 'Extra Free Year' and 'Say When' (which follow each other) could basically be the same mid-paced synth pop song, lacking in any hook or discernible direction, then the trite funk of 'Put a Light On' and 'Kemal' sound like something Vampire Weekend rejected for being too irritating, and the initial promise and charm of 'Awake' disappears in its search for a chorus.

There's a real temptation to go and find Joyner and Widmer and give them a good shake and tell them to snap out of whatever dozing state they currently find themselves in. What's frustrating is that the pair are clearly talented musicians, it's just that they've suddenly found themselves in a rut they need to get out of. I'd also question the role of a record label like Polyvinyl who were clearly happy to accept an obviously middling album and subsequently release it – the whole situation is fairly disappointing. We should expect better from musicians, especially when you know they have it in them to produce the goods. Generationals: this was a missed opportunity. Next time you might not get off so lightly.