Could the end of the loudness wars be in sight? Perhaps. Check out this interesting post on Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy by Ian Shepherd at the Mastering Media Blog. Shepherd speculates that Metallica's much maligned Death Magnetic may have been the straw that broke the camel's back.
Shepherd's interesting comparison between the Death Magnetic LP and CD is also worth reading. It's similar to some of the comparisons I've attempted to do here, only done by someone who actually knows what he's talking about.
Reading Shepherd (who is a mastering engineer) drives home just how hideously out of my depth I am in attempting to comment on these things at all. Still, despite my lack of technical expertise, I think it's helpful. I try to be as honest as possible about the things I don't understand, and when I'm engaging in pure speculation. I'm sure I get a lot of things wrong, but the more people who complain about over-compressed releases (and praise the good ones) the better. Besides, technical expertise aside, I know what I hear.