I feel In Defense stood up in the overall quality of the writing and could have been as good an album if not better. I just think it could have benefited from a few more months in the shop to flesh some things out and fine-tune the production.
@ladedadada, as for the self-titled, I really don't think it stands up. There's just so much less depth to what's going on instrumentally; the production is weaker... I dunno. I'm coming from a place where iaRb is one of my three favorite albums, but I just don't think S/T holds a candle in any quantifiable way. Songs like Do Better just don't match up on any level; it's doing almost nothing musically and the lyrics are fun but lack depth. And while there are some spectacular songs, I feel the album just doesn't do them justice (compare those early live acoustic videos of "Crush'd" and "Eloise," especially the former, to the album versions, or the demos of "Fed To Death" and "Property").
Of course, I respect your right to disagree and I'm in no way insulting the album. And I do like positivity more than nihilism and wish I could like the album better for that reason. I just think it's a good record rather than a classic one. I'm hoping I can give the new one at least that positive an appraisal.