Genres are as important as they are devilish creatures. It goes without saying that we need genres for the sake of categorization, that we meticulous music devotees view music categorization no differently than having all of our iTunes album artwork as accurate as possible. It's a way of life for us. We divide bands into niches, into movements that share characteristics but also possess innumerable differences. While understandable, this is alarming, and highly problematic for those that care to ever be surprised.
When we ascribe arbitrary genre titles we have expectations, hopes that can be pretty damned silly. As an example, if someone described Tides of Man to me with comparisons, I wouldn't be so keen on hearing a group whose sound resembles Circa Survive, The Fall of Troy and Coheed and Cambria. This is because I look to new music to hear new ideas, not redressed ideas. And this is a fallacy that's all too easy to jump to, the idea of music in a particular genre merely existing as part of a greater collective whole. Sure, every progressive group experiments with instrumentation and musical proficiency, but what each group accomplishes by themselves isn't represented by the genre title itself. It's merely a descriptor, a means to an end that only we can discover. And this happens through us listening to the music ourselves. After all, there are artists of all genres that I'd like; they all have different inclinations, no matter what term their art falls under.
My main point is that genres do matter, but that they cannot accurately depict the emotions that come along with music. Mew's No More Stories is one of my favorite albums of all time, and I never would've guessed that if I'd just assumed it was "pretentious indie," like one reviewer stated. We should never view genre titles as the end-all, be-all for what our opinion will be, and with understanding this will come the realization that music accomplishes more than umbrella terms could ever describe.