I do not expect anyone to ever like Caress Of Steel as much as I do. People who dislike it are totally rational and understandable in doing so, and the band made 2112 anyway because they thought they were about to break up and wanted to go out on a good note; by most indications they were not terribly happy with COS. Geddy Lee has called "Lakeside Park" a "lousy song" and I think the band went on a crappy tour in 1975 that made them miserable and I believe there were complaints about the production as well (Rush are probably one of the few long-running bands I can think of to have more albums misproduced than correctly produced, though this was far more of a problem after Moving Pictures than before it.)
I did not know that about the title of "The Fountain Of Lamneth" missing from the back cover; I have the "Rush Remaster" CD, which seems to have a miniature recreation of the vinyl liner notes in its booklet, which means you can't, like, read it at all (the pictures of the band from 1975 are pretty hideous too, gigantic bell bottoms and ratty hair; Geddy in particular has never looked uglier to my knowledge.)
Oh, as for my reasons for liking the album: I find it a charming 1970s long-haired fantasy hard rock album for teens, with a charming naivete to it. The band members were all 21-22 at the time taking their first real stab at "prog" (though as you said, maybe "suites" obviously based on song fragments glued together don't really count as "prog," but that's a really awful subject matter that I discussed to death over 15 years ago and have no desire whatsoever to revisit) and God help me I just like most of the songs. "Bastille Day" is a fast fun chugger, "Lakeside Park" has a sort of laid-back Dazed & Confused vibe to it that I like even though it's obviously a total piece of filler (Rush have several pieces of total filler that I inexplicably like. "Madrigal" is another one.) , the "dark" part of "The Necromancer" is fun moodiness and the "battle" and "happy" parts are cute. "I Think I'm Going Bald" actually IS lame filler, so that leaves "Lamneth"...I dunno. It's, again, that charming naivete. "My eyes have just been open and they're open very wide!" is a great part. Ringing riffs and quieter guitar parts ("Yet my eyes are drawn toward the mountain in the east") just beautiful. To me. The best parts are the beginning (the first two) and the last two (the ending.) But that's just me. Okay, Neil's little drum solo bit is pretty dumb.
And, who knows, maybe I'll just never forget COS because it's one of the first prog albums I ever heard and back in 1999 you could have tricked me into thinking ANY prog album was some high-aiming masterpiece--the people I was talking to on ICQ (yes, ICQ!) at the time certainly acted like EVERY prog album was a brainy masterwork and suckered me into listening to foreign garbage like Sinkadus and Ars Nova and The Flower Kings (alright, the FK album I heard--Retropolis--was good, but nothing else they did is.) Almost ALL the music I heard back then is kind of burnt into my brain as a happy memory of youth, of the beginnings of my obsession with hearing all these wonderful albums.
And hey, just for the hell of it, I'll let you know that I just think FBN is an okay album, and 2112 is really only good for most of the title track.