“more bands but less originality”

I just read an interview with one of my all time rock and roll heroes, Peter Buck of R.E.M. on Murmurs (an excellent R.E.M. fan site) and was struck by his comment that, compared with the ‘80s underground that existed when R.E.M. first started out, he feels that there are “more bands but less originality” today except for some of the new “alt-country” bands gigging around. Who am I to argue with Peter Buck except to say that “originality” is an extremely subjective term. A lot of music that I like some people would consider to be “retro” or worse (from, Sloan to the High Dials to Oasis to….R.E.M.) but is that a lack of originality?
Now, if I had a comments system for this site I would be hoping to get some feedback from anybody reading but I don’t (yet, stay tuned..) so let me know what you think here. Are there in fact more rock and roll bands but less originality? In fact, what do you consider to be “original?” Inquiring minds want to know.