It definitely is harder than the first game. I've gotten killed a few times by FOEs that pinned me against walls -_-
And then the fuckers don't even give you experience.
You're right though, Troubadours are pretty great. Defenders have a few buffs that help in tough battles but they don't really compare. But pride keeps me from using the Troubadour though. I've always had an aversion to bards of any sort.
On that subject, does anyone have any experience using the Beast? It seems pretty hard to find new weapons and armor for it so I decided against including one but the idea is cool.