@Shaddows why are you associating off-page SEO with low quality?
It is possible, and highly advantageous, to attract off-page links by producing extremely high quality content.
Where did I ever indicate that I was talking about ranking a polished turd? I think you need to re-read my post.
Proper SEO is ALL about quality. Even Matt Cutts has spoken about good SEO being beneficial.
Is the site with a lot of broken outbound links and that has coding that "is a mess" the quality you are referring to? Do you think that should outrank a properly SEO-ed site that is relevant just because it has done no SEO work?