Hmm, I never found the vocals on IE8 to be recessed, just not quite as defined and detailed as on some other great IEMs. If you want better quality vocals than IE8, you have a few options. Out of the ones I heard, I recommend SM3, e-Q7, SE530, UM3X and RE252 in no particular order. My personal favorites however are SE530 and RE252 and I don't really like UM3X much at all - I find it too forward and analytical overall.
Yessir, I quite honestly don't know why people say the vocals are laid-back and recessed.