In a conversation I had with Davey awhile back, he said that the reason AFI went in the direction they did was because originally the more synth-pop-whatever stuff was going to be a side project with him and Jade. But then the rest of the band was into it so they decided to write it as AFI since that was where the whole band wanted to go.
Take that for what you will. Did they go for some quick $$$ ? Maybe... probably... I do think it would have been better if it was a side project and didn't crap out what AFI was. I saw them play so many times up until the Black Sails album. After that they just started getting a bit weird with wanting to be the Misfits and having some strange identity crisis. Too bad, because they were awesome in their heyday and every show was a lot of fun.