I thought he would be having another run like that starting with ADTOE, continuing with DT, but he had to change his approach in TA because of the material. He employed the approach he took in playing the SDOIT song.
I would like to add that I grew to love the tone of the bass in the DT album. Like you, I did not like it at first. But numerous listenings to Illumination Theory made me love the aggression of the bass sound that allowed it toc ut throught JP's rhythm guitar work.
Has he only ever played the Chapman Stick on one song on one album ?
Kinda bizarre that in 13 albums he's only played it once ?
I don't know if it was a joke or not, but I remember reading something about the guys, particularly JP, teasing JMX when he used the Chapman Stick, describing it as an ugly instrument.
Yes. SDOIT still has some cool moments, but since then the bass has gone completely to the background.
I think it's really a function of the style of songs they are playing. I noticed that JMX tends to go to the background when they do metal (except for a few songs like Panic Attack) and when they do songs that have an orchestral(-sound) arrangement. He really shines when it's more at the proggy end of the spectrum, which is why in the TA album, he stands out in TGOM, ASITS, ALLB, ONW.