I suspect a lot of this has to do with a change in tastes. No, I'm not becoming a weird "literary" reader (though I like me some literary fiction in the SF/F vein), but I do like the novels I read to have prose that does more than just "get the job done." I want the prose to say something to me, to show me things, rather than tell me they exist. Words like "intricate" or "stiff" are meaningless if I don't understand the context, or see what it is the author is trying to say. I understand the impulse to have prose that isn't flowery, but sometimes a little flare to one's prose can make for a more enjoyable experience.
The kind of prose I'm talking about here is weak prose. The author forgets that they're not just telling a story, but showing one. It happens a lot, and for many readers, that's good enough--for publishers too, because they sell a lot of books with weak prose. But, this sort of bare bones prose is, to me, a waste of paper. Stories deserve more. They deserve a little description, some clever uses of prose, or a little more than two-dimensional character development or plots.
Liven things up a bit, folks. It's okay, really. Readers will love you for it if you can make your writing a little more interesting. If they don't, then hit them with a cumbersome object.