I'm with H9, I don't feel so bad taking a chance on a $2.99 to $4.99 CD and then finding out it isn't all that. That and most times I'm supporting a local used CD store in doing so.
It's frustrating that the recording engineer is at times the one who creates the presentation, and in cases reworks the artists material based on marketing and record company guidance. In the case of Britney Spears, that's probably a good thing and not concerning. In the case of remastering a classic album, I would like to see more participation by the artist if possible. New presentations aren't bad per se, they may be what the artist really originally tried to do.
I also think that because of our love of our gear and the money spent on our gear we over analyze this stuff. Case in point, last night at a friends house, music on my laptop played by using the BoseLink connection to the Bose radio. Good music, good friends ....................... did it sound like crap - yes ..................................... did or should that have diminished the enjoyment of good music - no.