After losing three days or so to investigating this, I gave up. Commenters on a blog post pointed out how I could resolve database-specific packaging issues, and that freed me to just stop worrying and to use the DBI instead.
FWIW, I did write up a detailed SO answer to the original question. TL;DR: IPC::Run is probably the best choice, but IPC is such a mess that all the options frankly suck pretty hard. I am grateful I don't have to deal with it anymore.
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