Glen Hansard might be difficult to love — his songwriting is rarely distinctive enough to generate such a strong feeling — but he’s almost impossible to dislike.

He’ll probably never escape the shadow of such folkie forebears as Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan, but at least he doesn’t come off as a passive-aggressive simp (Stevens) or a strident, self-righteous jerk (Dylan mostly, but post-Islam Stevens too). He’s an amiable, considerate, competent tunesmith, no less and no more.

Like its creator, Hansard’s new album Between Two Shores has its modest charms — there isn’t an unpleasant second on the whole thing. There isn’t a single moment that will linger in a listener’s memory after its 10 tracks are finished either.

As the Irish troubadour more or less acknowledged in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, there isn’t any great import to these songs. Hansard himself forgot about them for quite a while — he and his band recorded the music for them while on tour in 2013. He didn’t give the tracks a second thought until the people in his inner circle urged him to do so.

Between Two Shores features the smooth, catchy music that Hansard laid down four-and-a-half years ago with new words — the original lyrics were “too vague,” he said. One could say the same of the new lyrics too. They consist mostly of straightforward ruminations on romantic turmoil like the following quatrain from “Roll on Slow:” [LISTEN]

Hansard shows a bit more nuance on “Your Heart’s Not in It,” which describes an acrimonious but still regretted breakup: [LISTEN]

Another high point is “Wheels on Fire,” which works up some respectable if generic contempt for unnamed people of power: [LISTEN]