The cardinal sin of a songwriter is to insult the intelligence of his audience. If you’re on a stage shouting it from your soapbox, you damn well better have style that can sell.

This is the curious part of Daniel James’ new solo project, Worried Well. The former Sophomore Beat man spins off a side project with serious pop/punk cachet behind him, and produces a sack of cliches and undercooked hooks.

This creative apathy rears its head all over the Worried Well eponymous debut. In “Remember to Press Play,” over a tepid acoustic progression, James drops “I’m never more confused/ Than when I’m trying to talk to you,” and a baker’s dozen more uninspired couplets.

“A Monster Named Paranoia” force-feeds a half-baked Radiohead rip-off in a song about paranoia. In an unforgiving music industry, nothing’s more toxic than predictability. Be anything but obvious.

What’s frustrating about “Worried Well” is that James has a nice voice, and most of the tunes start out promisingly.

But while it’s easy to empathize with the broken man portrayed on the album, it’s no excuse for a flat musical effort. More assuredness, more command, more sparkle is needed on almost every song.

This sounds like the work of a tentative performer.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer.