Shatner - I also re-wrote my content, and it wasn't simply re-wording. I added significant new substance, some of which wasn't available on G or Bing, and I got by emailing manufacturers with lists of questions. Also went through my analytics pre-Panda, and for all the long tails, checked whether my page actually answered the question the searcher asked or whether they landed there because G had nothing else to serve. Then did research to answer the questions and added the info in.
But I take your point about Panda 1. My observation is this: where the websites are controlled by a single webmaster who controls the content either by writing it or acting as a strict editor, sites have rebounded. But for sites with user-generated content, it's another story.
You are in the latter category, arn't you? In which our little anecdotes don't help because I am certain G is applying a different criteria to UGC sites, and only someone with that experience can help you.