There's nothing wrong with brackets if you go the aftermarket/brembo route.I also have been using centric with stoptech or hawks previously on my impreza and currently on my Legacy. I too would like to upgrade braking on the my '17XT. only 20k miles though so I'll wait another year for pads and rotors.
To piggy back on OPs question however, what can be done to upgrade the 'spongy' feel? Would SS lines and different fluid be enough, or after market/brembo calipers? I've read the brembo thread and would really like to avoid brackets or knuckle replacements and have also read the XT calipers are pretty decent. I just can't get over the soft feel until I actually get a bite.
To stop better than factory, you need better tires and or reduce weight of tue vehicle.I want to upgrade my brakes on my 2017 Forester Xt, looking for something that will stop better than the factory brakes. What would you recommend ?