Foundling was announced after plans for a reissue of his preceding album Draw the Line were cancelled. The re-release was scheduled to include B-sides and unreleased tracks from the Draw the Line sessions, which included "A Moment" (released as the first single under the new title "A Moment Changes Everything"), "Old Father Time", and "More to Me Now".
Described as a "private record", Gray states that he has "never taken the dynamics [as] low as I have done on this record. I had to have faith in writing and understatement – the things I hold as my strengths. I'm as proud of it as anything I've done." Gray's commercial expectations, however, are low: "This record is going to disappear off the face of the earth, bar some freak occurrence." Foundling is described as "the closing chapter for Draw The Line, and...needs to be presented in a different way."
The album has received mixed to negative reviews. The Guardian said the album was "nothing new" but "high-quality adult pop".The Daily Telegraph said the album " is unlikely to win Gray new fans but is as rich and heartfelt as admirers have come to expect."The Independent gave the album 2 out of 5 stars and called the album "fairly grim" and "so swaddled in "poetic" obfuscation it's hard to summon enough interest to decode them.", adding that while Foundling is "restrained, understated, graceful", it is "unlikely to repeat White Ladder's success."MusicOMH also gave 2 out of 5 stars saying the album "does become slightly wearisome after a while."Drowned in Sound gave Foundling a 6/10 rating, calling it "out of time, often boring, but is just too competent to lend itself to any fun." The Evening Standard called the album "safe" but Q (magazine) said Gray is "getting more interesting with each release." Review aggregator AnyDecentMusic? correlated 10 reviews, resulting in an ADM Rating of 5.7.