Gentle Giant - Octopus: I have this LP, and I like the album a lot. It is the only Gentle Giant album I own, and I think I bought it years ago because George liked it.
I also tried really hard to love progressive rock, but don't very much. The genre has moments of brilliance but is highly inconsistent. This album is a big exception. It is fluid, not overlong, and most of the songs are memorable. It even has hooks (like the Fragile album by Yes). Your descriptions of songs like "Raconteur Troubadour" and "Dogs Life" are spot-on.