It's better than the Astonishing, but not Distance Over Time or Self Titled. It has plenty of technical wizardry, but the songs are just forgettable, draggy, and lacking dynamics. Sounds rushed, and like they just mailed it it in, pretty much like everything they've done since they peaked at Train of Thought. I really wish they'd take 5 years to write another Scenes From A Memory grade opus, rather than just going for quantity. At least Mike's drums don't sound horrible on this one.
I love Train of Thought but it was not their peak, it was just a rushed album brought up by the idea of making a record full of their heavier side but it's not their peak by any means.
Also, i really think this album is a good 2010 release, i mashes up ideas from the ST and Distance Over Time. They'll never do another Scenes From a Memory, it'll be uninspired and boring to try and replicate past glories, if you want a modern concept album go and listen to The Astonishing.
DT direction and dynamics have changed and it's best to have their current style than to try and imitate the direction they had with Portnoy creatively.
I just like Dream Theater and everything is ok for me. Production extraordinary, smuggling Rush ideas, echoes of Octavarium. But there is no track like At Wit's End, which knocked me down with the idea, structure, theme and ending (until the last minute). I don't mean that they keep recording the same thing over and over again, and they do it anyway(:P), but no track like At Wit's End really made me enthusiastic...