Critical response to Modern has been mixed-to-negative.
Michael Sandlin of Pitchfork called it "wholly ill-conceived and mind-numbingly dull" and that "[it] seems like a weak attempt by a once-great band to simply sound 'current', whatever that means." Joshua Klein of The A.V. Club, on the other hand, wrote "the band reunited in time to ride the new punk wave, but something was missing from its two capable comeback albums. The new Modern is something else entirely: Essentially picking up where the band left off in 1981, the ironically-titled disc sounds like it was recorded just as punk turned into new wave", calling it "retro in the best sense".