Without really trying, Maine prairie-rock trio The Mutineers force a fascinating question with their latest record, “Drover’s Bones”: Should music demand your attention or not?

Disciples of Page and Plant are decidedly in the former camp, which is why listening to Led Zeppelin can be exhausting. But “Drover’s Bones” checks in on the other side of the spectrum, with 12 plain, unassuming songs that come and go without leaving much of an imprint. Stuart Macdonald leads the tepid charge, sharing old-timey country stories that can be ignored as easily as they can be enjoyed.

That’s not to say The Mutineers have made a boring record. “Maiden’s Cliff” is one of several honeysuckle ballads with homespun acoustic interplay. Bolstered by pedal steel and Appalachian fiddle, “Walking Alone” makes for a steady, woeful waltz.

But Macdonald’s got the same problem that James Taylor has always had: Shackled to his own pleasantness. In “How Long Blues,” bandmates Jeff Trippe and Darren Finnegan prepare a killer entrance for their vocalist, and then the nice-guy delivery sinks the opportunity.

This lack of noise and color could well be a central part of The Mutineers’ appeal to their fans. After all, “Drover’s Bones” could easily work on a long drive or as the background music at a gathering.

If you were to graph the emotional trajectory of the effort, though, you’d be left with a pretty flat line, and some fans listen more for the spikes.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer.

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