So it must have just been an issue with me not understanding the mechanics of either bear or death knight tanking, because I've now gone to the trouble of gearing up my paladin a little bit for tanking (and when I say a little bit, yes he is defense capped with a 544 defense skill and unbuffed health of about 32.4K), and the whole tanking thing seems to be making a lot more sense on the paladin than it did on any of the other toons that I've tried.
I did have one rather rough Azjol-Nerub run, but I'm not entirely sure that was all my fault as the dps in the group didn't seem to have a grasp of the aggro reset feature of those lovely Skirmishers.
We can tank if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
'Cause your friends don't tank and if they don't tank
Well they're no friends of mine.
I say, we can go where we want to
A place where they will never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind
And we can tank.
My sincere apologies to Men Without Hats.
So, I may spend some time working on getting some additional gear for this toon, which will obviously further delay my leveling plans. But lets face it, with the beta version of Cataclysm still not released, and an expectation of Cataclysm being under beta for around four months, I've really got more than enough time to finish leveling these last four toons.
Once I have this tank fully badge geared, I will then have essentially one character from each role more or less fully geared - healer, ranged dps, melee dps and tank. My death knight / melee dps isn't as fully geared as he could be, so that might be a project for after I finish leveling, but he can still roll about 3K dps in a heroic, so it doesn't really seem to matter much in his case.
Leveling has been going well with all of that. I've been rolling along really well on the mage and have her settled in Outland. The Shaman has continued to progress and is now at level 62.
I've spent enough time in instances on all three of these toons now to be able to confirm without a doubt that leveling is much faster questing through Outland than it is running dungeons. The only potential exception is knocking out one Ramps run at level 58 which will get you almost all the way to 59 in one run.
I'll be picking up the rogue for a chunk of this week. He's the farthest behind at this point, having gotten skipped in the leveling rotation once or twice because of real life conflicts, so he's sitting at only level 45 with a long way to go until Outland. We'll see how much progress we can make during this scheduled leveling time between now and Thursday!