I think exciter was pretty different (and mostly not in a good way). I love love love Playing the Angel, but everything they've put out since has pretty much felt like the same album only worse. The blues in Delta Machine was window dressing, much like the lyrics here.
Also, while the political lyrics aren't exactly art, I'm kind of happy for them. The romance songs are getting creepier and creepier with every album they release just due to their age and repeated references to 'little one' and such, plus it's super recycled and no longer seems the slightest big genuine (if it ever did).