Kid Cudi's sophomore album, "Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager," arrives heavy with lo-fi experimentation and personal pot stories that certainly must mean something to the man behind the microphone, if no one else.

But he delivers muffled and lethargic lyrics blended with boring beats devoid of a pulse. That is a recipe for a dud.

The hip-hop performer plods his way through 17 tracks, accompanied by an odd variety of sound samples that might have been best left on the shelf.

Songs such as "Scott Mescudi vs. the World" are backed by simplistic melodies that would have felt at home on the new wave radio dial in the late 1980s, and that's not a compliment. If the music was fronted by smarter, less-repetitive lyrics, it might have fared better.

On "Don't Play This Song," Kid Cudi talks about growing up, making some mistakes and trying get his "mind right." Talk of drug use and rocket ship rides are de rigueur here, and while a certain amount of crazy is always welcome in pop music, this slides into the territory of incomprehensible.

Kid Cudi makes the listener work awfully hard to consume his music. There's a way to be introspective yet welcoming, but that magical mix has escaped this relative newcomer.

Check out this track: "Wild'n Cuz I'm Young" hits the sweet spot. The deep, resonating backbeat sounds as though it's coming at you from an underwater cave, and Kid Cudi delivers the best rap lyrics and song on the album.

'Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager'

Kid Cudi

(Universal Motown)