I agree. I also think that there are other factors responsible for this, too - like simply the way the music industry has changed and the way music is consumed, not to mention how AFI seemed to consciously try to make CL almost the complete opposite of what DU was.
This happens to just about every band, though. Sooner or later, they all follow a similar trajectory, which is sad, but it’s just the way things are. In all honesty, I don’t see how pre-DU (or even DU-era) AFI could realistically exist in this day and age in the same way they did back then. Music does not have the same importance or occupy the same place in people’s lives as it used to. Their earlier albums required a real, active engagement with the music and lyrics on the part of the listener, which is something most people nowadays couldn’t even be bothered with because it would involve more than a 15-second attention span hahaha.