“Just when it became socially acceptable to like” singer-songwriter Bright Eyes a.k.a. Conor Oberst, said Judy Berman in Salon, “I find myself falling out of love with him.” Now that I’m older, I can see through his “futile attempt to evoke Dylan,” and shake his image as a self-pitying teenager by dispensing ''cowboy clichés.”

Give the guy a break, said Carl Wilson in Paste. For half his life, the 28-year-old Oberst has been "schlepping around a prodigy’s burden.” Ever since he gained “notoriety” as a songwriter while only in the 10th-grade, he’s “served as a skinny, bobbed and bobbing target for those aiming at superiority in the rock-taste status sweepstakes.” And to Oberst’s “credit, he seldom bitches about the backlash.”

That’s because he’s too busy writing great songs, said Eric R. Danton in The Hartford Courant. On his new self-titled album, Conor Oberst, “he sounds as if he has shrugged off any pressure to make a Grand Artistic Statement, resulting in songs that play to his considerable strengths as a writer.” This record is “the sound of an earnest singer and songwriter fully coming into his own.”