It appears that I was worrying for nothing.
The blocked back of the Carmichael Aran is dry and I love the results. The size is exactly what I wanted, the stitches have evened out and there is no wool smell. I've decided that I really like this yarn. This back piece is now soft, without being limp, and very touchable.
There's nothing so motivating as a bit of success and now I'm moving right along on the front piece. I think I'll have to make myself a sweater with this yarn one day.