I agree. All these magic bullet chemical formulas may be great at compressing scene contrast to fit the film so that it fits the paper, but that doesn't mean anything in terms of aesthetic look of the print and as you say, it usually compresses areas of the subject which specifically don't want compressing because they look lifeless if you do. There are occasions where these magic bullet developers are useful where you are forced to make images from difficult subjects but pre editing your images by careful subject selection and choice of lighting conditions is a much better way of going about things if you want consistently high quality images. i.e. know what will work well and look for it.