From his guests (Pharrell!) to his album cover, Mika makes it clear he wants The Origin of Love to head in a different direction from his usual technicolor '70s dream. And it does, but cautiously. Everything here feels a bit subdued for the boy in cartoon motion: "Overrated"'s cheeky club beats come off muted, zippily titled songs fall a bit flat, and even a bizarre Broadway quote is relatively mainstream (the Wicked-riffing "Popular Song"). It's all innocuously pleasant, but here and there Origin shows real, fresh promise, like on the off-kilter sway of "Make You Happy."