Canadian rocker Bryan Adams has always been an easy target for critical ridicule: When he’s not pumping out cotton-candy power ballads that only Casey Kasem could love, he’s making greaseball attempts at fashion chic that awkwardly betray his white-T-shirt roots. Still, this pockmarked Top 40 machine, with his soft-gravel voice and occasional winners (“This Time,” “One Night Love Affair”), has somehow managed to remain just a little more than Richard Marx with dirty fingernails. On this MTV-orchestrated project, filled with too many songs from his last few, very forgettable albums (Adams’ finest collection, 1984’s Reckless, is barely represented), the singer-songwriter cruises along on the same cheap confections that got him this far. There are, however, some original moments: The new “Back to You” is Wilburyesque, with its galloping simplicity and Jeff Lynne-style harmonizing, while “Cuts Like a Knife” has been dismantled from its comfy, greatest-hits form and reassembled with uilleann pipes (courtesy of Irishman Davy Spillane), a touching break, and some extra sing-along time. And then, finally, there’s a stripped-down version of “Heaven,” which, as far as I’m concerned, succeeds simply for the fact that its chilling deployment of pop cheez used to work fumbling wonders at my ninth-grade dances.

—Sean Daly