I liked the paranoia and rawness of OoS (Love how unhinged things get on "Darkshines"), Absolution is really polished but kinda schmaltzy lyrically. I mean Matt is no poet or anything, but that album is a bit cringe inducing at times, though, thankfully, nowhere near as bad as modern day Muse. From Black Holes onwards, I refuse to acknowledge that any of those albums exist
The only two albums my Muse I really like—love, in fact—are "Origin of Symmetry" (OoS) and the follow up to that, "Absolution"; I think the former is pretty close to a masterpiece and is my favourite Muse album, love every single track on it even when the recording/mastering ain't that great (I believe it was recorded live in studio), but it captures a pretty unique vibe, raw power, intensity, with quite a bit of inspiration (the muse!) that was lost, in my view, after "Absolution".
I love those albums as well. While I do like their new stuff, it is quite different from their earlier work, certainly missing a fair amount of bolded.
Not too sure Muse would be regarded as prog, tbh — I think they refer to that genre as "alternative" (just like they do with the music of Radiohead & Placebo), whatever that means, but you can tell Muse (and Radiohead) have listened to, an quite possibly been influenced by, (good) so-called prog bands.
this, FWIW, is possibly my all-time favourite Muse track (from the OoS album): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiHUKVoYbdc
Possibly mine as well. Absolutely love it. I have a few live perfomances of this on video and Matt uses a 7 string guitar for the song, which fascinates me for some reason. I have it on vinyl as well, and is quite an experience via analog.