Now, I'm not a major Perfect Circle fan. My definition of prog rock still centers on Yes. But, I've seen them live, they put on a good show. There's no lack of talent there. I kinda like them, but I'm not working hard at it.
I also don't automatically hate covers. Yes, there are bad ones, such as Leanne Rimes' cover of "Purple Rain", and kind of eh ones like the Foo Fighters' cover of "Darling Nikki" or Britney Spears cover of "And the Beat Goes On". But there are also outstanding covers, where the artist doing the cover takes a good song, and just kicks the crap out of the original, and makes the song their own. Heart, and "Rock and Roll". Stevie Ray Vaughan and "Voodoo Child". 4 Non Blondes and "Misty Mountain Hop". Van Halen and "You Really Got Me". So a cover doesn't automatically mean it sucks.
I get what they seem to be TRYING to do. And according to poorheather, they were doing some neat things musically. But...it just doesn't work. It...well, it sucks. It's not really ironic, or sarcastic. It doesn't do a good job of pointing out how we haven't achieved the vision that Lennon had in the original. It's plodding, overblown, and, the final sin, duller than fucking a waterlogged bagel.
It sounds like they were trying so hard to make a statement, that they forgot that it's also a song, and a simple one. The masterful part of the original is its simplicity. Anyone can dope out "Imagine". Hell, you could probably play it on a theremin if you really wanted to. But this cover is just..."Hey, we can like, play a bunch of instruments 'n' stuff, so let's be really clever for all of them." They could have thrown in bagpipes and a water organ and this would still be crap.
Sometimes, you can just think too hard.