From an interview with PJ Harvey in the Guardian...
"Stories... definitely did what I was trying to do – which was to make an album full of great pop songs. But that's not really where my heart is. It was more of an experiment with the craft rather than the heart, if that makes any sense. White Chalk – and, I think, Is This Desire and To Bring You My Love – were times when I felt the craft and the heart married well. Other times, I just go through phases where it's more of an exercise in exploring something, and not really where I want to be in my soul."
Personally, I think this album is a grower. Yes, it's quieter than her old work, and less catchy than Stories...
but it's still beautiful, and very moving. It probably won't pull in that many new fans, but for people who are already familar with PJ Harvey it's a real treat.