The Lumineers debuted on the US Billboard 200 at number 45 on its week of release with sales of 10,000. The success of the song 'Ho Hey' however began to drive sales of the album, and it eventually reached a peak of No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The album has sold 1,700,000 copies in the US as of April 2016.
The album debuted and peaked at number 8 on the UK Albums Chart. It has sold 421,177 copies in the UK as of April 2016.
Steve Leggett of AllMusic believed that "each track is inventive". To this, Joe Breen of the Irish Times said the music needs to be communal because it is essential to the collective and joint mission between the band and the fans, which is "underlined by elemental instrumentation – guitar, cello and drums; in the manner in which songs of call and response become sites of collaboration and celebration; in the vernacularity of the thoughtful lyrics." Lydia Jenkin of The New Zealand Herald said that the music is enjoyable, but the music is even more so entertaining "live (when they rope in further players to help fill out the many layers of piano, drums, percussion, and guitars)." Alexandra Fletcher of Paste proclaimed that the "record is instantly gratifying—and not in the hasty, shallow way often found in pre-fab pop songs either."
Melanie Haupt of The Austin Chronicle found the release to be "uniquely American in all the best ways: gritty, determined, soaked in sweat and love and drive." Similarly, Graeme Thomson of Uncut called it "primal, pounding folk music", and he found that it was facilitated with a subdued amount of "drama." Lastly, Thomson proclaimed that "Nothing is overcooked," which means the sound can readily and "easily [be] recreated by the band on some makeshift stage." Conversely, Phil Mongredien of The Observer faulted the album because the "songs float prettily", which does not create an impression because the band produced "gossamer-light and gossamer-memorable" music. In agreement, Will Hermes of Rolling Stone told that the music here "basically argues that a bunch of Americans can lead slowly-accelerating lovelorn singalongs just as well as UK yankophile Marcus Mumford, bringing fiddle scratching, marching-band snare rolls, parlor-room piano chords, and Kingston Trio guitar strumming to an album that’s long on nostalgic reverie." But, Robert Copsey of Digital Spy vowed that "they've still got plenty more to get off their chest", so this album gives them the potential to get that done.