Hi tobybeaglebutler, Volume automation as well as any other parameters automated can make a huge difference to a mix. A neat trick is to automate the chorus by +1db and the final chorus/outro +1 1/2 db. It builds the tension and is actually something a lot of mastering engineers do myself included. If you have VCA faders they are great for sections to be automated. There are also different types of automation such as clip gain which can actually be done while editing at the early stages of a mix. The use of this is that you don't need to compress as hard if the tracks are particularly dynamic in nature. This is something I do a lot for instruments like Bass Guitar. Sometimes the parts are not played so evenly and instead of going in with loads of compression I will cut each note and clip gain it so that it has a better level. I tend to use Waves Vocal Rider for Vocals automating the plugin on it's own channel thus leaving the track fader at unity gain and available for any further automation. These are just some of the things I will do during each mix I take on.