Very true - both albums split time between being high energy, soft, and heavy. If one band understands creating dynamics across an album, it's Anberlin. And Haha, Modern Age is a monster.
Agreed on both points. Cities is definitely more diverse, while Vital is much more concise - I think both strategies worked nicely for their respective records.
Interesting choice of favorites - "Desires" and "Modern Age" did nothing for you? Or "Intentions" (80's-esque, but very NTFP).
ill have to give the album another listen!