I don't know if this applies to you, but I had problems with audio CDs being recognised by some programs using a USB optical drive.
The problem programs were using udev to detect the details of the disc, and it seems that the cdrom_id helper that udev uses was generating larger SCSI commands than the drive could handle. Since the program didn't add the udev attributes marking the disc as an audio CD, some programs would ignore the disc.
You can test if this affects you by running "/lib/udev/cdrom_id --debug /dev/cdrom". If your drive is affected, the output will be something like:
main: probing: '/dev/cdrom'
cd_inquiry: INQUIRY: [CHIYOMI ][TSD80Y1 DVD RW ][D010]
info_scsi_cmd_err: GET CONFIGURATION failed
If the program is functioning correctly, then there should be more debug messages at the start and a few extra attributes similar to the following:
If this describes the problem you're seeing, you could try replacing the /lib/udev/cdrom_id program with the version from natty as a work around.