I would totally pick up Backspacer now. As for Christmas, I'm sure I'll end up with two more copies much like I did when Avocado came out.
I didn't much care for Snow Patrol until I saw them with U2 a couple weeks back. I agree, they do need to grow as a band. They are capable of a lot more, and live, all their songs seemed to blend together in a mess of adult alternative noise, except when they decided to jam a little bit between tunes.