I've also been listening to the DJ shadow album. It certainly is different, and there's no shortage of people ripping into it for lacking character, being regressive and schizophrenic in the sounds it includes. I think the main difference is that this isn't really a DJ shadow album at all. Sure, he produced it, but his touch is submerged far into the background, possibly to avoid competing with all the guest artists who take the starring roles in the tracks. Thus if it was sold as a compilation album, a bunch of artists, it would probably get a much fairer judgement. I'd still hate it, because rapping about "the hood" just doesn't interest me and Hyphy sounds like some weird and stupid hip-hop derivative, but then that wouldn't matter because I wouldn't have bought it. However if you buy it as a DJ shadow album you're struggling to hear any signature, new or old, coming through the music on this CD. Thus, ultimately, while it might not suck in an absolute sense it's certainly a form of false advertising and one to avoid buying on the strength of his name.
The new Cut Chemist album, "The Audience is listening" is pretty damn cool though, especially on a portable player. And lemon jelly continues to amuse.