I don't think anyone can argue that following up 2004's highly successful Final Straw would be, at best, a difficult task. With their new release Eyes Open however, Scotland's Snow Patrol comes about as close as they can.
Snow Patrol does all the things a good rock band should do, and they do it with relatively little cliché. Sure, the songs are mostly based around relationships, as Final Straw was, but it's not tired. While singer/vocalist Gary Lightbody doesn't write the deepest lyrics, what he succeeds at is writing lyrics that are real to the human experience. Love, hurt, pain, happiness, are all perfectly conveyed within his vocal throughout the album.
Musically, Snow Patrol comes out a little more aggressive with the two opening tracks, "You're All I Have", and "Hands Open", before pulling back a bit for "Chasing Cars". That is what Snow Patrol does best throughout this album. By carefully crafting the song order, they keep you moving between tempos in a way that makes the overall listening experience flow well. They also seemed to have experimented just a little more musically, which sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't work entirely. For the most part though, this could be considered a continuation of Final Straw, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The other way Snow Patrol succeeds here is because they steer clear of many of their over-the-pond predecessors tendency to come off whiny in their musical approach. They pull off a release that, while it may not catapult them into selling out arenas, will definitely garner them a larger fanbase than their previous efforts have allowed them.