Having only recently gotten my hands on a pair of the Independence, I have to say I would have a hard time going back to the "ordinary" AE calf. They are a significant upgrade IMO.
I know this in some ways defeats the purpose of the Independence, but I recently placed an MTO for a Rutledge in black shell. I wanted a black shell dress shoe and at the moment neither Alden nor Carmina have anything like what I'm looking for (don't know about C&J). And, the Rutledge last is comfy for me and looks sleek as hell. Of course, I will post specs and pics when they arrive.
I made the Harrison's in Black Shell and the Jefferson's in Cappuccino Shell. I also made a Brown Shell Independence Strand. I highly recommend them. The special treatments of the Independence Collection is awesome, even if you upgrade to a Shell Cordovan upper.