I use taller path or area lights all the time. The purpose is not to necessarily light mulch as it is to visually connect with 2 focal points or trees that too apart and appear 'disconnected'. A lighting bridge as Nate Mullen calls it. I believe in illuminating the landscape and incidentally getting the pathways. I rarely use a path light to light paths, don't like how prominent the fixture becomes. I want to see the light not the fixture. By using area lights 24" to 48" high in amongst the shrubs, they blend in and the landscape become the target, not the concrete.
Tommy Herren, CLVLT #1169