Dion's latest release sometimes bland, but always personal

16-song album released Tuesday

Returning to pop life with her first new collection since 1997's smash "Let's Talk About Love," the Canadian chanteuse tries fresh ideas while delivering the sweeping romantic ballads fans expect. All the while she radiates a gratefulness that reflects the personal life she's focused on these past few years.

Dion's work has always emphasized the power, the wonder, the magic of love, and this 16-song album (which was released in stores Tuesday) is a testament to defining yourself through the adoring eyes of another. Abetting her apparent goal of offering something for everyone are such contributors as youth-pop producer-writer Anders Bagge, fellow Canadian pop artist Corey Hart, and Shania Twain's hubby and producer, Mutt Lange.

Although the folk-rocking "Ten Days" offers the quirkiest departure, it's the modern dance-music styles on some selections that make Dion sound au courant. Needing no boosts from electronic processing, her lovely voice lends these numbers a more human quality than most current pop divas can muster.

Indeed, the pulsing, soaring "radio remix" of the title track is much springier than the non-souped-up ballad that comes later on the album. She doesn't particularly oversing, but the love songs tenderly celebrating motherhood and surrendering oneself to romance are still overwrought and blandly sentimental.

The standards "At Last" and "Nature Boy" provide better material, but although Dion's straightforward take on the former is far less histrionic than Christina Aguilera's, her renditions aren't noteworthy.


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