i haven't heard the new album yet (waiting on the postman) but i have listened to the new singles and i think you have a point. i have been a long time u2 fan, close to 20 years, and while i don't think i will ever give up on them i think in the last 6-7 years there has been what i would call a sheen to their records, even the band themselves, which i think you're referring to when you use the term boyband.
i think the band have made a mistake in thinking that being relevant, which they have mentioned before, means having a big hit and unfortunately with mainstream music getting more perfectly processed and dumbed down the only way to have a big hit is to play the game. given the producers that they have been using recently i think it is evident that they are searching for that modern day radio hit and i don't think it's worked in their favour. i think their intentions are authentic but they start to overcook things and it just becomes too refined.
they are still clearly relevant, any tour they do will show that there are tens of thousands of fans around the world but musically i think they need to just start looking inward rather than outward.
all their great work has come when they ignored what was trendy at the time; 1980 punk/post punk - pissed off youth, screw authority, i'm angry/depressed - u2 sings about innocence of youth, personal and spiritual growth, unforgettable fire then went one further with a complete upheaval in their sound. the joshua tree couldn't have sounded more different to the synthesiser pop dominating the time, achtung baby flipped everything again and sounded nothing like anything in 1991 and i still think pop is a hugely under appreciated record which i think has been their biggest risk in their career.
i still think they have great music in them and it can still happen but i think they are too aware of what people think of them and are now playing it safe in attempt to please them.