I am about 1/3 finished with The Book of Drugs and It feels as though I grew up with Mike. I have been following him since about 2000 and I too am one of those who felt initial disappointment he was not doing material like the band. Once you figure out what's going on it really takes on a whole new direction, and that's why I buy music in the first place. Some might not see Mike as a *Musician*, but he's so much more than an entertainer!
I've seen him several times, but won't go again. I grew very tired of his rejections to play his own tunes, much less the Soul Coughing one (which I get). I like many songs from his newer albums but this interlude banter/crowd rejection monologue just became too excessive last show (which I went to out of town)