After suffering through so many dubious soap-opera-star-to-recording-artist transplants, one can't be faulted for eyeing Pablo Montero's sophomore disc with certain skepticism.

After suffering through so many dubious soap-opera-star-to-recording-artist transplants, one can't be faulted for eyeing Pablo Montero's sophomore disc with certain skepticism. What a surprise to encounter a warm, velvety voice, one that can go from soft and intimate to broad and soaring with ease—and without any cover-all gimmicks or obnoxious back-up tracks. Here, Montero sings a nice balance of pop and ranchera songs. Although there's some strong material—notably Marco Antonio Solís' title track and Omar Alfanno's "Si Lo Nuestro Acabó"—other tracks, like the opening "No Dejes de Quererme," are overwhelmingly repetitive. There is also a persistent sameness in the tone and tempo of the songs, and, moreover, in the arrangements, with each track treated virtually the same way. As expressive as Montero is, he needs some instrumentation help. But when he gets it—as on "Yo Te Quiero"—the break is welcome and worthy.—LC