Saw a chunk of the live DVD from the Some Girls tour. They weren’t phoning it in for that. You can even see a bit of the punk influence in how they played, much faster than previously.
Also, I think as far as latter career albums go, Voodoo Lounge is pretty underrated.
The Stones have the same problem every band from that era has, people compare the new stuff to the old stuff, and if it sounds like it, people complain that they are just doing to same stuff, but if they try to do something different, people complain because it doesn’t sound like the old stuff.