@pageoneresults, I agree with you when it comes to people throwing up sites that are just cookie cutters, but there is a lot more variety these days. Here are a few examples:
1. Video Directories where people are submitting their directories
2. Affiliate Program directories where people are either submitting their products or driving affiliate commissions
3. Classified ad directories where people are selling products in a niche or locale.
There are many more examples. There was certainly a time when general directory submissions could do REALLY well for you in Google. Even now, you can rank some terms from directory submissions alone, so the idea isn't dead, but certainly there is a lot more to it now.