I haven't heard Chris Thile's solo music, but I think that Nickel Creek are fantastic; particularly the instrumentals. Mandolin playing that takes my breath away...
I get the feeling that Chris Thile is perhaps a JRR Tolkien fan..? A track on his solo album is called Riddles In The Dark, I believe, and there's a track on the Nickel Creek self-titled album named House of Tom Bombadil.
I suppose that my only criticism of Chris Thile is that he has too-clean a voice. It doesn't have much to it. He hits all the notes, but there's something too polished about it.
Still.....if I could play the mandolin like he can, the world would be mine.