Hombre Lobo is a good album.
It's not the best Eels album, but it certainly beats Shootenanny and the soggy middle parts of Souljacker: a collection of, as someone else said, fun rock songs, sweet melancholic numbers and maybe, just maybe, a couple of future classics. The songwriting is great, classic E, simple melodies, clever harmonies and rhythmic syncopation and some cracking lyrics ("I'm a don't do it wrong do it righter"... amazing), symptomatic of a man kicking back and having fun to move away from the tragicomic autobiography that so closely influenced BLAOR and manifested itself in Things The Grandchildren Should Know.
I won't attempt a track by track review, but Prizefighter, Tremendous Dynamite and Beginner's Luck are all particularly fine, fitting into the first and possible the last of the categories above. It's going to take a few more listens, but currently, I cannot get it off my iPod or stereo.
There seem to be a few people here who are being a little too harsh on the album, and GreatMistake seems to be taking it as a personal slight upon him/herself by E. To say that, "E is clearly lacking the ability of making a new step forward, and has absolutely no new and fresh story to tell" is cynical in the extreme.
The problem seems to be that we've waited for four years for a record which is not as good as BLAOR. But how many records have been released in those four years, by any artist, that are as good as BLAOR? I can count them on my visible digits.
To conclude, E does not owe us anything. We are not forced to buy his records or attend his shows. Whilst fans do not have to display unconditional love and sycophantic praise, to rubbish a man who has made so many great records, and is clearly one of the most talented songwriters of our generation, just seems a bit meanspirited.
If you prefer BLAOR, Beautiful Freak, Daisies, ESB, Souljacker or even Shootenanny, then just listen to them instead. I'll be here, listening to my favourite band's first record in four years with a huge grin on my face and a spring in my step.