Jennifer: Sparpreis tickets may or may NOT be the best option in your case - it depends on your DAY 1 situation. I've used the Sparpreis (advance-sale savings fare) tickets on several occasions. Great deal. You ride the same trains as you would with a railpass but you pay much less. Some comments...
It's not true that Sparpreis tickets cannot be refunded. They are refundable for a fee - but not at all at the last moment. From the DB website:
"Exchange / Refund: Possible up to one day before travelling against a fee of EUR 15.00. From the first day of validity: No exchange and no refund possible... It is possible to purchase a DB special fare insurance from EUR 5.00 which will refund the ticket price in case of cancelation in specific cases."
So... as Lee points out, it could be unwise to buy the Sparpreis ticket for that first travel leg if you are traveling to Dresden immediately after a flight to FRA; flight delays, long lines at passport control, etc. may factor in, and you may lose the entire fare if you don't make it to your scheduled train. And then you'd need to buy full-fare tickets as well!
If indeed you're flying in to FRA and heading immediately to Dresden... Flexible-departure-time, full fare tickets for two, which you can buy at FRA, would cost either 178€ or 184€, depending on the train you catch; let's say about 180€. For the other two trips, Sparpreis tickets at the very best prices for Dresden-Cochem (49€/2) and Cochem-Frankfurt (29€) then bring your total to about 258€. How does the twinpass compare? Very favorably in this situation. A 3-days-in-30 twinpass from DB is 278€ - just 20€ more. But you get quite a bit more for that 20€...
1.) No need to purchase 3 separate tickets in advance.
2.) A price you can count on - there's no race to pre-purchase Sparpreis fares 92 days out before they go up (which would end up costing more than the pass.)
3.) You can buy a railpass at the last minute if you wish.
4.) The railpass allows for changes of schedule and routings and additional journeys on the day of travel (Let's say on your last day in Germany, you're traveling from Cochem to overnight at FRA... with the railpass, you could take a detour to Cologne, Remagen, and/or Linz north of Koblenz on the way.)
5.) The railpass offers free KD river cruises as a bonus (if you use this goodie on a railpass on one of your 3 train travel days.)
Lee's suggestion for changing your order of destinations (Cochem first), if that is a possibility for you, is a sound one that will allow you to get Sparpreis tickets for the other destinations and save more $.
The Sparpreis tickets are the clear winner provided you aren't heading from FRA airport to Dresden on Day 1.