Difficulty of comprehension is probably what I like most about Hou's films. Often he seems to set-up narration in advance of showing it, thus generating mental/emotional space to concentrate on something else -- usually plastic space. That at least might be one of his regular abstractive techniques.
I also happen to like Tsai and Yang, so go figure. But I think what Hou has done with his last few pictures is move in a new direction. Yang has kind of mastered complex story dynamics and attained something of an aesthetic pinnacle for beautiful construction. Tsai wants to realise internal character psychology with a sort of distanced symbolic realism but I prefer the panache of the Grace Chang musical numbers in Hole.
I've always been curious about the music in Hou's films. There's almost a bowing to sentiment sometimes (especially in say Good Men, Good Women) and definitely an interest in guiding spectators' aurally which suggests further levels of meaning, perhaps.
To me Hou was immediately something different and challenging. A film like Millenium Mambo, I don't know if I adore it but re-watching it is extraordinarily easy, almost hypnotic, and every time there's new elements to discover. Not so much unravel, but just suddenly see what then becomes blindingly obvious.