I cannot divorce myself from the lyrics or the fact that Maynard was, initially, the reason I listened to the band. What you are describing are the arrangements Billy came up with around already very well known songs. They may well have stemmed from original song ideas he had for a third album but the moment Maynard sang other artist's lyrics to them, they became cover songs.
The question around eMotive (for me anyway) is "were they good covers?" Well, some were. But most were not... they are not better or on par with the originals. We can disagree over this point but I just don't see it. And especially not when considering the output of APC's first two albums.
On a side note- another artist who I love and recently went this direction is Peter Gabriel. The last two shows I saw him perform had many covers (New Blood). His concept is "I'll cover one of your songs, if you'll cover one of mine". It's not working out exactly as planned in that regard, but his cover of the Talking Heads "The Listening Wind" and Paul Simon's "The Boy in the Bubble" are tunes he has truly made his own. There's a process to make that work. APC did not do it with eMotive.