The album received a lukewarm reception from fans and critics alike, and was Morrissey's last studio album for seven years.
Maladjusted was Morrissey's attempt to integrate the torch songs that he experimented with on Vauxhall and I with the indie rock of his earlier career. In addition to "Alma Matters", the tracks "Trouble Loves Me", "Ammunition" and "Wide to Receive" stand out as reminiscent of the Vauxhall and I era.
The album caused a small amount of controversy over what was to be the penultimate track. Entitled "Sorrow Will Come in the End", it featured Morrissey intoning, rather than singing, over a backing of manic strings and the beat of a judge's gavel. The song is clearly about the Mike Joyce royalties dispute, and lyrically takes the form of, essentially, an extended threatening message to him and his representatives. "Don't close your eyes/Don't ever close your eyes/A man who slits throats/Has time on his hands/And I'm gonna get you". Island Records, Morrissey's label at the time, dropped the track from UK versions of the album for fear of libel action. Joyce, for his part, said of the song, "I just found it funny. If Lemmy had written it, I might be concerned."
On the inside sleeve of the LP is printed "John Bindon 1943–1993", a reference to the British underworld figure and actor.
Morrissey released "Alma Matters" on 21 July 1997 to support the album. The song premiered on the KROQ-FM Jed the Fish show on 4 July 1997. It was well received by fans and critics alike, praised for its surprisingly upbeat sound. The single reached number 16 in the UK Singles Chart, making it Morrissey's highest charting single in the decade between the Vauxhall and I and You Are the Quarry releases.