I still need a lot more spins, but I sort of agree with your last paragraph.
This album doesn't "beat" Meanderthal. That album is a monster of heaviness and joy, and I think the production came off a bit better, especially on the heavy parts.
But Harmonicraft still rules, it combines many of the qualities of both older Torche and Songs For Singles Torche. The opening song still throws me off though, might be my least favorite off the record.