Since their self-titled debut in 2000, Rascal Flatts has consistently and with ever-growing force become a presence within the country-pop crossover music scene to be reckoned with. Boasting such awards as two-time CMT Vocal Group of the Year, CMT Group/Duo of the Year, and an Emmy for the unforgettable phenomenon of “Bless the Broken Road,” this trio continues to assert itself on the charts and in the musical consciousness of America.

If gross reductionism will be forgiven, the success of Rascal Flatts is incontrovertibly linked to front man Gary LeVox’s enthralling and ever-soaring tenor vocals. While the band’s songs show all too infrequent flashes of artistic innovation, the sheer force, intensity and beauty of LeVox’s performances—both live and recorded—rescue and imbue with vigor songs that would otherwise be resigned to the purgatory of the “country formulae.”

In their newest release, Still Feels Good, this unfortunate tension between overall unimaginative songwriting and LeVox’s breathtaking performance virtuosity is thankfully and significantly more subdued than in their previous release, Me and My Gang. This time around, the band jettisons nearly every remnant of hardcore country that may have clung on in their transition to the world of crossover. While the steel guitars, mandolins and fiddles still resonate across all tracks, the melodies are dramatically divorced from the standard country formulae, the only holdout being the ridiculously unpalatable romp of “Bob Your Head.” The remainder of the album, with the exception of the oddly misplaced and overly entendre-suffused “She Goes All the Way” (featuring an even stranger duet with Jamie Foxx), is a pleasing, if not restrained, alternation between soft, yet impassioned, balladeering and more progressive adult power-pop.

While none of the songs are the next chart-buster like “Bless the Broken Road,” a few show glimpses of its brilliant simplicity. On “Here,” LeVox’s voice soars behind the intoxicating melodies and envelops the intensity of the fervently desperate lyrics of “Help Me Remember”. The bluesy undertones of “A Winner at a Losing Game” are complemented nicely by LeVox despite being unnervingly reminiscent of early 90’s adult contempo. And the nascent social consciousness which drives the closing track, “It’s Not Supposed to Go Like That,” is a surprising change for the group, suggesting the seeds of songwriting evolution that will invariably be needed to propel the band forward in the future.

Beyond the ever further plunge into the country-pop crossover genre, Still Feels Good is not a significant deviation from their previous work. For those looking for the next “Bless the Broken Road” in Rascal Flatt’s career, they will have to keep looking. While the seeds for growth and evolution are certainly present, Still Feels Good lacks the imagination and artistic insistence to move discernibly beyond the band’s status quo. For fans, however, who are more than content with the reasonably successful music which LeVox and company has churned out over the last seven years, Still Feels Good will not disappoint, and will more than make up for fans’ less-than-stellar reception of the unfortunate Me and My Gang. In a world where country-pop crossover bands appear and fizzle with breathtaking rapidity, endurance may be the best that one can hope for.