It's been some time since head-fi sucked me back into its money-burning clutches, but now that I'm back for a while I thought I'd follow up to my post about the IE8s.
The cleaning tool that comes with the IE8 has a side that can be used to adjust the bass dial. It will almost fit between the two pins at the head of the cable if you turn it so that the blade aligns with the pins, but not quite. I inserted the tip of the blade at the very top portion of the pins, then twisted slightly to expand the pins slightly until the blade was aligned with the pins, pushing the pins outward slightly. I then pushed down with the blade in the middle of the pins somewhat until the pins were permanently bent outward just slightly. And I do mean slightly - I could only really tell that they had been bent out by moving the blade back up and noticing that there was no longer tight pressure on the blade with it aligned between the pins... so just bent outwards a hair, really.
Afterwards it made a perfect connection again and it stopped cutting out.
If anyone else has the problem I had then you might want to also try that. Of course, anytime you're bending pins around like that it's possible that something could get bent too far out of alignment, but it worked for me. With a little caution it should be safe for most people to do this. In the worst case, it's only the cables that are damaged.