Just upgraded to the latest Chrome for Mac (Version 69.0.3497.92 (Official Build) (64-bit), running the latest macOS High Sierra (10.13.6), and that combo seems to have lost the ability to open links in the background from Apple's Mail.app. My Desktop running plain old "Sierra" seems to have the same issue. I realize now how many time a day I do that while reading email and now that I've lost that functionality, I really miss it.
Is anyone else having this problem and, if so, have you found a workaround? It's likely a coding issue with Chrome and maybe they'll fix it, but you can never tell with the Apple/Google feud.