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Many recent works that study the performance of multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) systems in practice assume a Kronecker model where the variances of the channel entries, upon decomposition on to the transmit and the receive eigenbases, admit a separable form. Measurement campaigns, however, show that the Kronecker model results in poor estimates for capacity. Motivated by these observations, a channel model that does not impose a separable structure has been recently proposed and shown to fit the capacity of measured channels better. In this paper, we show that this recently proposed modeling framework can be viewed as a natural consequence of channel decomposition on to its canonical coordinates, the transmit and/or the receive eigenbases. Using tools from random matrix theory, we then establish the theoretical basis behind the Kronecker mismatch at the low-and the high-SNR extremes: 1) sparsity of the dominant statistical degrees of freedom (DoF) in the true channel at the low- SNR extreme, and 2) nonregularity of the sparsity structure (disparities in the distribution of the DoF across the rows and the columns) at the high-SNR extreme.