So I get your point - I just think that if he didn't phone it in, he just made really bad choices next to a reinvigorated Jon Mess. Mess' parts sound huge, then Jonny sounds like he almost forgot he was supposed to sing. In regards to both Jonny's talent and songwriting chops, I think DBM2 is his undisputed worst showing, especially considering how late it was in his career.
I would agree with the bolded part, and that it is probably JC's worst melody-wise. Some songs like Thug City (worst on the record & maybe the worst theyve ever done imo) and his parts on Robot 3 are straight up boring. But, on songs like Elder Goose, Heat Seeking..., his verses are understated and "held back" range-wise and they fit the songs so well imo, and those songs can hold up to the better songs of their previous efforts easily.
99% of why i like this band anyway is Will Swan, so i guess i can overlook the flaws of the vocalists!!!
You know when people say "Jesus H. Christ" sometimes (no idea where that originated lol)? It's that combined with William H. Macy!!!