It really is a shame.
Still have my 2004 LOTR and it's been flawless after many thousands of games (only replaced the Gimli switch after the first month of ownership). Considering the demise of pinball back in the late 90's, you'd think Stern would have learned cost of ownership/maintenance is critical to their longevity. Sure, public pinball is back in many cities, however nothing lasts forever. Lowering the cost of ownership is goodness for everyone. The Spike games are just so cheaply built...cheap node boards that fail often, cheap power supplies, cheap/noisy fans. I respect that Stern is in the biz to make money, but given they are the only volume producer, I believe it's possible to build higher quality games and still make a healthy profit.
I've been a loyal customer since 2004, but I have to admit, I'm close to throwing in the towel.