With the label facing bankruptcy and the band substituting Jay Snyder for Reilly (who went on to form Red Light Green Light), Hidden in Plain View were picked up by Note to Self Records in early 2002. For their second EP titled Operation: Cut-Throat, the band exchanged their heavy distortion guitars and genre-typical fast-paced drums for a lighter, more uplifting sound, yet they still maintained a degree of melancholy, especially in the lyrics and vocal melodies. The CD was released on June 11 2002. Before the end of the year, Ryan left to co-form Rushmore Records(now Drive-Thru Records) signing Houston Calls, while he was replaced by Mike Saffert.
Even though a full-length had been announced by Note to Self, who had since been licensed by LLR Recordings, Hidden in Plain View signed with southern California pop punk label Drive-Thru Records in June 2003. Simultaneously with the announcement of their signing, LLR re-printed Operation: Cut-Throat. The band went on and recorded four songs for their self-titled Drive-Thru debut. After the recording of the EP, Snyder quit. Hidden in Plain View was released in November 2003, featuring the liner notes picturing his replacement, Newnan, Georgia resident Spencer Peterson, born in Oil City, Pennsylvania. Peterson was a student at the Atlanta Institute of Music when he joined the band at the age of 19.
Release-wise, the following year was somewhat less busy for the band, with appearing only on the Counting Crows tribute album Dead and Dreaming: An Indie Tribute to Counting Crows and the Drive-Thru Christmas compilation Happy Holidays from Drive-Thru Records, though the band toured extensively in both the United States and the United Kingdom and recorded their first full-length album. Life in Dreaming, which dropped in early 2005, showcased a much more mature, yet edgier and at times darker sound than the band's previous EPs, thanks to the latest two additions to their line-up, Saffert and Peterson.
The majority of 2005 was spent touring domestically and internationally, as the band played 24 dates of the Warped Tour, visited Japan for the first time and co-headlined the European Drive-Thru Invasion Tour 2005, which hit a total of sixteen cities in seven different countries across Europe. On October 16 2005, Hidden in Plain View participated in MTV2's Dew Circuit Breakout (a television battle of the bands), competing in the New York City finals against Pete Miser.
On January 29, 2007, the band announced that they have broken up due to personal and creative differences. The follow-up record previously recorded, titled Resolution, was released on Drive-Thru Records on July 24, 2007. The CD leaked onto file-sharing networks on July 15th, 2007.