There's a balance here, but I'd sooner tip over on the sentimental side than the cynical side. I'll stick with Eric Bogle and Stan Rogers, though maybe not with the way people somtimes sing the songs in question.
As for wallowing in emotion, that is mostly a matter of style of performance rather than the actual song, and it is better avoided. It gets in the way of true emotion.
Actually all this reminds me of the old actor saying "The important thing about a performance is sincerity.Once you've cracked that you can do anything."