If it could work for today's heat seeking missiles, it could certainly work for 23rd Century photon torpedoes.
Which is why it seems unusual to me that it would take a communications officer to re-think of it. Yes, I know Spock started the line of reasoning. But why did one of the greatest minds of the Federation wait until he was being shot at to come up with a cloak detector?
I'm torn between being glad that they didn't try to hypercharge the subspace spectrum in the gluon phase in order to detect Chang's ship and hating that instead they came up with a fairly simple 20th century weapon that someone should have thought of before.
They came up with an unbeatable weapon and didn't ever come up with a really good way to beat it. (See also The Picard Maneuver.)
Red matter still sounds like a place holder where they had written "BAD STUFF happens, pisses off Nero and causes time travel".
Genesis is magic, but at least they don't try to over explain it and the characters find it magical.