Where is this large amount of people? Every Thursday thread/discussion for like 10 years has been about how bad the production now sucks, how the sound has changed, etc. etc.
Even if it isn't their favorite, those same people can at least admit the growth in sound. Read Drews review. 98% if I remember correctly. It was one of their most critically acclaimed, even if the fans thought otherwise.
I for one enjoyed their more ambient direction on the latest record.