Maladjusted came at a point where music was just getting bad all around. The college rock/alternative/grunge thing had been co-opeted and watered down to the point where you had overly earnest sensitive growlers like Live and Bush at the top of the charts and it was all starting to swing very strongly back into mindless pop territory, and the less said about Nu metal, the better. Most bands that I would consider Morrissey's peers struggled to maintain exposure and fan base in the late 90's because it all seemed to turn to shit somewhere in the middle of the decade and left bands without a compass.
Maladjusted had some really corny numbers- IE: Roy's Keen, Satan rejected my soul, etc, but it had some strong songs as well. Alma Matters is as good as anything he's done, but the timing and album cover were piss poor.
1997 was a fantastic year for music.
Fat of the Land
Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating In Space
The Boatman's Call