I like that Eldarion (hi, btw! haven't seen you post on here in forever) put quotes around "contemporary piping". It's good to point out that the things he talks about are present in contemporary pipers, but not all pipers, nor all young pipers, nor indeed all young musicians. I'm pretty sure I don't play like that, and I know several other excellent young pipers who don't either. As far as musicians go, I'm lucky to play with a fiddler who definitely does not just play in a way where the "melody evolves to be a bunch of notes meant to be fit within the progression of a chord to another", even though she regularly plays in a band and with guitar accompaniment. Maybe she's the exception, but her brother (accordion/concertina and also in the band) and all of the other young musicians in the area that I play with regularly (and can form an opinion about) play similarly, and nicely.
As for the original question: The "trend" in contemporary piping is to have musicians who play slower, quicker, slicker, with nice subtle rhythm and phrasing, evenly, swung, on concert pitch pipes, on flat pitch pipes, etc etc etc. In other words, I don't think you can generalize to *all* contemporary pipers, as I hear as much variation in playing styles as ever, (even if maybe some playing styles, like Tommy Reck's, are less common) including from players in bands, or who play with accompaniment, or who play without accompaniment, solo, in duets or trios (none of which are at all mutually exclusive).