Somewhat like Eric Clapton a generation or two before him, John Mayer’s career has been a struggle to reconcile his chops as a serious musician (and be taken seriously as such) with his reputation as one of pop’s great ladykillers. To go with his multiple Grammys, once he also had to contend with being painted as perhaps music’s biggest jerk, thanks to a pair of cringeworthy interviews to Playboy and Rolling Stone around the turn of the decade. That in turn led to an unusual atonement period that included moving to Montana and parlaying his longtime love of the Grateful Dead (which is all over post-Playboy albums like Paradise Valley and Born and Raised) into actually joining surviving members Bob Weir, Bill Kreuzmann and Mickey Hart in Dead and Company. This spring Mayer, now 39, demonstrated his newfound maturity with his first album in four years, The Search For Everything. As a soft-rock/blue-eyed soul mea culpa, it’s not half bad.