Some "middle" are more towards low end DSLRs, bulkier than other "middles". Some people feel they do not need all the perks of a full blown DSLRs (lower priced), so that is the "middle" they are looking for.
What I'm suggesting is getting a "middle" that's not too bulky yet shoots a hell lot better than most high-end PnS... I won't suggest something more than that if he/she would eventually move on to DSLRs. And I'm not suggesting that the heavier end "middles" cannot shoot good pictures either. All cameras serve different market needs, otherwise the "middles" would have perished a long time ago... why bother releasing newer models after models?