Got there eventually; it seems my DVD drive had spun down so low I couldn't hear it. This is apparantly not an isolated incident; some people had to buy a new DVD drive just to read the disc, so I guess they weren't manufactured very well.
Yeah, EA definitely spent some top dollar on the manufacturer. Probably thyree 12 year old Malaysian kids with a single 4x burner that they found at a garage sale. I had to copy the entire DVD over to my harddisk and install it from there.