Some sectors are more competitive than others. Therefore, there's more flux in web sites. That's why some people will be screaming about major movements in serps while other's don't notice a difference.
Incidentally, do a google search for "Welcome." How many sites do you estimate have that term in their title tag? So, all things being roughly equal let's examine the serps:
The number one ranked site is a PR9. The search terms only appear within the inbound links.
The number two ranked site is a PR10. The search terms also only appear within the inbound links.
A PR9 beats a PR10! I've been following this "welcome" search and this is the first time I saw something like this. But it may be a temporary anomaly.
What this seems to say is that the brute force of inbound links with relevant anchor text is enough to buoy a site to the top of the serps, with greater weight than "on the page factors" and greater weight even than PageRank itself.
But this may yet shake out once the database gets integrated and sorted.
Although the update probably isn't over, I have seen the new index on aol.google and www.google for quite some time now without reverting. I still contend that less emphasis has been placed on keyword-rich domains in the rankings. Results in my niche look less spammy.
Yes I am seeing this also, particularly for multi-keyword-domains-with-cheap-widgets-for-sale. In my sector there is now not a single affiliate site in the top 10, and there used to be 5-6 really poor affiliate sites without any real content. Google has made some major changes to the algo and I think the results look great.