A suggestion: could your loss of passion for the music be linked to the fact that you don't appreciate the games as much as you used to (or don't play the new ones at all)? I'm not saying this is the case with you (or anyone else here), but I've noticed that its an obvious trend with most people: once they felt the games started to suck or got uninteresting, they also started liking the music less.
Personally, with the exception of SH1 OST, I got all the SH soundtracks before playing the games, and have loved them all (some growing on me faster than others, SH4 clicking fastest and Homecoming taking the longest to digest). If anything, its noticeable in the music that Yamaoka is no longer involved with the development of the rest of the game project, as he pretty much composes the music on his own and then it gets put into the game by the programmers on the other side of the globe, and in this regard I can agree that the music in the last two OSTs sounds more "generically" SH-atmospheric than the more focused earlier soundtracks to the games made by Team Silent (I've discussed this with Jay in connection with the previous two SH OSTs, so I'm beginning to get a feeling of déjà vu here... ). But generic in style? Can't agree with that, Homecoming had a unique, experimental sound that's evolved all over the place from the earlier ones. Also, if we're talking the "ambient" side of SH music, its not really fair to measure up the others to SH1 OST, as that one is actually the only one containing mostly dark ambient/industrial from the game, while the others focus on the trip-hop/rock/vocal/synth/etc. music more often used in the cutscenes. Basically, all of them are woefully incomplete, with SH1 OST focusing on one aspect and the others on another. This hurts them as listening experiences to various degrees. With SH2 OST, not so much, as its skillfully crafted as a more well-rounded listening experience and the source music lends itself very well to the "album" format to begin with, but others are more damaged by it, like SH Origins (the OST CD is really a botched shadow of the full soundtrack, I recommend tracking down one of the complete rips floating around, its Yamaoka magic of the finest brand).
judging from the track list it seems a bit too formulaic.
What?! I loved the tracklist, IMO a big improvement from Homecoming's confusing cipher. Do you mean that the "ice theme" of certain of the titles is unimaginative and expected (given the game's setting), or are you referring to something else?
Hope this one can convince me otherwise, but I doubt it.
Well, with that attitude, of course it won't convince you.
I'm trying to keep an open mind until I actually get to hear the music. Like with you guys, my enthusiasm for Yamaoka's music isn't as great as it once was (simply because I'm no longer the same person that I was 10 years ago, panta rei), but he's still one of only two VGM composers who have never let me down, and the only composer doing music in all the styles I love the most (dark ambient, industrial, trip-hop, rock, metal, various electronic styles, etc.), so anything new by him still deserves my undivided attention. IMO, the way he's playing it "safe" lies not so much in the music he puts out as in the fact that he seems to only do SH music nowadays, which is a damn shame, as he has great potential to work wonders in other types of games. I'm still clinging to my vain hope of a Yamaoka Castlevania soundtrack, but I have the feeling that will never happen.