I got semi excited when I saw the thread title, then I read that El-P's not gonna be involved and now I'm basically not interested at all. El-P made 'The Cold Vein' what it is. I credit that album almost entirely to him. Vast Aire and Vordul are both good mc's, but they're infinitely better with El-P to back them. It's not just the beats. It's the way he mastered their vocals and what he was able to get out of them.
People always say how much Vast has fallen off since 'The Cold Vein', but he really hasn't changed that much. He just doesn't have El-P to back him. That's why he doesn't sound nearly as good as he did on that album.
Listen to 'The Cold Vein' and imagine it without El-P's touch. There is no Cannibal Ox without El-P.