Your list is pretty similar to mine.
The main difference is, instead of the Sony ES, I have the Pioneer SC-07 on my list. Don't get me wrong, I currently own a Sony ES that I've had for ten years now. It has worked flawlessly. For reasons you cite, as well as a few of my own, I refuse to buy anything with a Sony logo. (Except for the PS3 which I use solely as a $300 Blu-Ray player)
With the advent of all the new HD channels on DirecTV, and the associated DD 5.1 audio, the volume on commercials has become unbearable.
This has resulted in putting some sort of integrated Volume Leveling at the top of my list. The only receivers I know where this exists for sure are the new Denon xx09 series. Unfortunately, the highest wattage model (AVR-2809) is quite a bit less than what I was looking for. This made me start to think, why not buy a lower output receiver (AVR-1909) along with a mid range amp from Emotiva or Outlaw. This would allow me to spend $600 for a receiver now, with Volume Leveling, and then in a year or two when all these HD codec issues get straightened out, spend a couple of grand for something I can keep long term. Problem is, the 1909 doesn't have pre outs. So, I looked at the Pioneer 1018 which has pre outs. Problem is, it doesn't appear to have Volume Leveling. It has something called ALC, but based on the 1018 thread, no one has posted this is effective for commercials. This gives me little confidence the SC-07 will be any different.
All this has lead me to wait and see. The Integra 9.8 thread has reports of a new 9.9 coming out in August. Possibly it will have Volume Leveling. Who knows ?
Then I start to think, Denon will surely come out with new xx09 models to replace their high end xx08 models. Maybe just wishful thinking on my part.
The Onkyo seems interesting, but the reports of overheating have me a bit concerned. I'll have my receiver directly under a 60" Kuro Plasma which reportedly puts out about 400 watts on its own. (Maybe all this would be okay if I lived in Alaska)
Needless to say, I'm not sure what I'm going to do at the moment.
BTW, I'm no fanboy of Audyssey so "Volume Leveling" could be called something else by some other receiver manufacturer. That just happens to be the Audyssey term for it.
EDIT: I just went to the Audyssey and they call it "Dynamic Volume" not Volume Leveling.