Re: Just throwing it out there....
I've fished ECHO's 8' 4wt, cast their 9' 5wt (both Classic), and own a 8' 5wt St. Croix Avid. I would agree that they are all VERY similar in action. Soft enough for casting in close, but not mushy or floppy. They're also all plenty light as well.
TFO Pro rods are very adequate too, but I'd much have an Avid or Echo.