Writing for Allmusic, critic Mark Deming wrote of the album "The craft is strong on Standard Songs for Average People, but at its heart it sounds like two friends singing some old songs they love on a quiet evening, and that's part of the album's strength -- these are 14 songs sung by two guys who know a great tune when they hear it, and they allow these numbers to work their magic simply, which serves them very well." Music critic Don Grant wrote "This release by veterans Prine and Wiseman doesn't break any new ground... As would be expected from two performers of this caliber, the tunes are well executed and come off with nary a hitch. If you're a new listener to this game, by all means pick it up and expand your horizons. However, for most, it's probably a shade on the redundant side." Mike Wilson of The Green Man Review gave the album a positive rating, calling it "an honest and heartfelt recording."
Critic John Milward of the No Depression wrote that the songs were "hardly standard" and the album "an amiable picking party that evokes placid Sunday picnics more than rowdy Saturday nights. And while the results are pleasant enough, one can’t help but wish somebody had spiked the punchbowl."