I completely agree. I'm really glad that Leighton seems like a happier guy these days, since there's a lot of darkness in the past, but I just don't think the writing is on the same level. Even all of Paint It Golden was written by him as a solo effort before they decided to keep the Lydia name. I think there was a lot of influence from the new guys on Devil.
I definitely get what you guys are saying but the new album seems like natural progression. Lydia's albums to me at least seem to naturally follow the stages of grief. When I started listening to lydia I was in a dark time in life and to be able to listen to the new songs and feel the same feelings as leighton is very empowering but obviously that isn't the typical listener.