I've found the response to this album quite baffling and more than a little bit annoying. Why? Well firstly, while this album can be rightly hailed as a return to some degree of form it is still well short if you start comparing it to Maxinquaye. Secondly, people are far too quick in dismissing the three albums that followed the debut. Thirdly, it doesn't even sound a lot like Maxinquaye! I'd only really list `Past Mistake' as having a similar sound and tone to the material on that album.
I rate this as an average Tricky album - no absolute classic tracks, 2 very good songs (Past Mistake, School Gates) , 4 or so more good ones (Bacative, Baligaga, Cross to Bear, etc), some interesting experiments (Puppy Toy, Council Estate, etc) and some pretty poor fodder (C'mon Baby, Far Away, Slow, etc).
This is exactly the same sort of pattern found on PMT, Angels w/ Dirty Faces and Juxtapose. In fact I'd even go as far as to say that this album is missing a certified classic like Makes Me Wanna Die, Broken Homes or Contradictive.
Tricky is hardly the first artist to suffer from this type of hype - everyone from REM to Bowie to U2 has to put up with this type of knee jerk reaction whenever they release new material. If you are a very casual fan whose ears pricked up when you heard that this was the return of the original Tricky kid then give this a try but approach with caution. If you own two or more of his first four albums and still enjoy them then I'd safely recommend this to you.