Though the latest from Norah Jones has been promoted as a full-circle return to the breakthrough sound of her multiplatinum debut (2002’s Come Away With Me), Day Breaks (out October 7 on Blue Note) suggests that the artist really can’t go home anymore. Or maybe isn’t exactly sure where home is. Even though she records for a jazz label, Jones at her jazziest is “jazz lite.” Her strength is taking material that transcends categorization and phrasing it with a vocal purity that practically achieves transparency—as if hers was an artless art, a window to the soul. Even arrangements punctuated by stellar saxophonist Wayne Shorter and organ accompaniment by Lonnie Smith fail to mask the fact that about half of this material sounds thin and generic, with “Tragedy” repeating its title more than any song since the heyday of Phil Collins. Part of the problem is the album’s pacing, for much of its second half ranks with her best, but you have to wade through the “Moondance” soundalike “Wonderful Time for Love” to get to it. Underrated as a pianist, Jones treats her listenership to some Horace Silver (“Peace”) and concludes with an Ellington number (“African Flower”) which features her humming. “And Then There Was You” sounds like a classic standard, and “Carry On” is the album’s standout cut, the one that not only evokes the sound of her earliest success but builds on that foundation. “I finally know who I’m supposed to be,” she sings in “Flipside,” but for an artistic expression of purpose, I’ll take her Little Broken Hearts collaboration with Danger Mouse.