^ Interesting thoughts. I think I am in the same camp as your girlfriend, though. I had a lot of expectations after The Con, it's been one of my favourite albums of these past 2 years. I loved it because although it was catchy pop music, it was also strange and interesting and had so much depth to it. It was strong lyrically as well, you could listen to it many times over and discover new things each time, and come up with endless interpretations. Sainthood seems very straight up and down to me. I was a bit taken aback by the direction they went with in terms of the overall sound and direction. When I first heard that Chris Walla would be producing it again I was excited because I thought he did an excellent job helping them to craft the sound of The Con, the beautifully weird, delicate arrangements and the subtle electro elements. Everything just meshed so perfectly. Musically so far I have found Sainthood to be rather boring and generic, not only that, I think it often sounds disjointed and jarring (not in a good way) and doesn't flow very well. Lyrically also I don't think there's anywhere near as much depth as there was to The Con.
I don't want to be cynical but it is a much more accessible and commercial sounding record, so I can see how that would appeal to their ever expanding and increasingly younger fanbase. Although whether that was intentional or not I don't know.
Anyway, I'm gonna give it time, and maybe it will sound way better on the proper CD when it arrives...hope it's a grower.