Kneecap: I replaced an 04 LX model, and yes it shifts better. I hate to admit it because I oppose parts snobbery, but it does shift smoother and more precisely. I'm using x.9 triggers, if it matters.
Wayne: I just went and looked at it and it appears as though it would be a problem on the 04 epics as well. There is a plastic guide there though that keeps it from rubbing. It seems this particular derailleur is more trouble than it's worth, given the amount of crap one has to put up with to use it. I will try mounting the cable as you have and see if that reduces the rub on this frame. That doesn't affect shifting? That groove is on a cam and regulates cable pull/derailleur throw, so I'd assume it would.
Looking at the 04 xtr stuff, whatever their designation number is, it's not as nice as this one. It looks like an lx or something. There's no way I'd pay their price for it. I wonder how long till sram comes out with their front derailleur. I'd rather go that way. The most annoying thing about this xtr front der is you have to break the chain to install it.