RNA-seq studies are growing in size and popularity. We provide evidence that the most commonly used methods for differential expression analysis (DEA) may yield too many false positive results in some situations. We present dearseq, a new method for DEA which controls the FDR without making any assumption about the true distribution of RNA-seq data. We show that dearseq controls the FDR while maintaining strong statistical power compared to the most popular methods. We demonstrate this behavior with mathematical proofs, simulations, and a real data set from a study of Tuberculosis, where our method produces fewer apparent false positives.