Do you not have "use Sort By fields" as an option right under Set Displayed Columns?
Wow, thanks. I never made the connection that something named 'sorting as' would relate to the layout of the column browser.
It seems to work indeed, yet not completely one-on-one as I would expect it.
Some quick tests display more columns than I have actually set in the sorting panel.
Seems to be related to settings elsewhere such as 'what defines an album'.
Makes me wonder if I have to acknowledge that MB is just more clever than I am, or that it is trying to be too clever ;-)