How do you guys choose between CD releases?

This has been been bugging me for some time now and I'm wondering if any of you guys have a sensible way of choosing which release of a CD to buy. I buy the vast majority of my CDs on Amazon and too frequently have to choose between two releases of a CD e.g., 1990 or 2003. If there is a remaster I usually go with it, unless I'm warned off. That doesn't bother me, it's choosing between to releases with no more to go on than the year of release. You can't judge by sampling; you don't even know which release you're listening to, and Amazon reviews are seldom release specific. Should I just buy the newest, the cheapest or (gulp) most expensive? Any secrets? How do you guys decide?
The tone of my thread takes it for granted that there is a difference between reissues. That probably should have been my first question. Is this something that I should even be concerned about?
Generally the older the better. Early CD's had dynamic range even in pop/rock genres - since the 90's everything has become "loud" and compressed. The first releases of Toto sound great. The recent remasters sound bad - it is the same with most new remasters. Even the Beatles recent releases were crushed compressed and only the mono versions were any is a sad state of affairs but that is what the record labels, producers and artists have put out.
Yes, I think it's worth considering. The newer release of an older album is frequently remastered, even when it's not mentioned. Certainly it's a bit unusual for newer release to be inferior. It seems to me that the standard has gradually improved over time. The imports are usually better than the domestic ones, but there's obviously no guarantee.

It's another matter when you already have an old release - I usually won't upgrade to a newer release unless I have a solid reason to expect a significant improvement.
Even the Beatles recent releases were crushed compressed and only the mono versions were any good...

This statement just goes to show how subjective audio is and how people perceive sound differently.I happen to think the new Beatles stereo discs sound very good.You shouldn't make purchases on someone's recommendation without hearing the product for yourself.Of course this is just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions.
I think all of what has been said already is true in some cases. Old releases are sometimes better than new ones. Sonically more and more new music is tweaked for the ipod listener. On the other hand some new releases such as the Beatles remasters are iMO much improved over the old. Other things to take into consideration are whether a new release contains multiple formats such as a reissue of DSOTM of a few years ago which was stereo and 5.1 or a new release that is encoded with say HDCD, a format which requires your player to be able to decode it but is a great sound. Besides sound, another thing to look for is whether the new release contains extra tracks or even video. Asian versions make sure not a knock off.
lots of good advice already.

subjective limitations on the soundquality of cd's in general aside...i'll add most reissues are mostly jsut attempt by label's to sell the same old material all over again with a shiny new look. if you're a big fan of the band's reissue in question, some of the time bonus demo tracks etc are added, very nice for hardcore fans.

remasters/remixes are often slight/noticably different from original, sometimes, done without the input from the original artists.
There are differences in mastering and 'pressing.' Hard to tell what is best until a review of each is done for sound quality. Soon, there will be blu-ray versions of some cd's and those will, in most cases, sound much better then any of the cd releases.
"Soon, there will be blu-ray versions of some cd's and those will, in most cases, sound much better then any of the cd releases."

I realize that given just how rapidly digital technology is changing, that this is probably a question more appropriately asked of Kreskin, but what will be the preferred digital source 5, 10 years from now? Are CDs doomed in the foreseeable future? Will a single format emerge to finally dominate (and by dominate I mean in terms of acceptance by both purists and the mainstream)? Should an audiophile with wisdom stop investing in CDs now? What do you guys think?
I have many K2HD CD's, SACD's, and regular old RBCD's that will knock the socks off. The superiority of vinyl? Had a HUGE record collection and just like with the CD disc format - some were great, some less so. Many variables on what makes a fine recording on disc, record, or download. I don't buy into the "vinyl is God, CD's suck, hard drive tunes sound less real." Internet forums abound with advice on which discs, records, and downloads are best in substance and sound.
If dynamics is all you want then generally the older versions are best. However, newer versions are usually more clear, detailed. The best, such as beatles,mono, have both. Some that are slightly compressed such as stereo beatles are still very good. overly compressed are usually almost unlistenable ( such as Dwight Yoacham best on Rhino) or many Fuel titles like Cosmic Blues Band. Check out review sites for comments on audio quality. Go with the majority.
How can anyone say the new 2009 remasters of the Beatles are worse than the older versions?
They sound a heck of a lot better in all my audio systems!
what about the quality of the "reviewer?" and what if they are just listening to snidbits over their mp3 players. dont most reviewers just regurgitate whatever press comes with the new release, maybe not...but it sure seems to me most of the time its always just rereading the same thing over and over with different jokes or whatnot.

actually, where are the reviews about the sound quality of releases? would like to check some out.
"what about the quality of the "reviewer?" and what if they are just listening to snidbits over their mp3 players."

Good point Oakleys, especially since I frequently rely on Amazon reviewers. I know quite a few people who listen exclusively on whatever system comes as standard equipment with their car.
ohh, your concerning buying online off amazon...ahh.

i've nver done that. i live near a college campus and am a short bicycle or walk away from some 4 or 5 really nice record shops. lots of great used vinyl and new releases available and local bands releases etc., same for cds. never thought of going online.

good luck.
Definitely delve further into reviews than the consensus of music reviewers on Amazon. Preferring mostly classical, Jazz, and the ECM catalog it is somewhat easier to gleam useful feedback about this or that recording because very useful websites, blogs, and listener reviews exist. Even in the Amazon reviews you can parch nuggets of faith if you delve into the reviewers history of music reviews, find the top-rated reviewer upon who opinion you have trusted previously. Ultimately you do take a leap of faith with reviews though, such is the nature of opinion.
Oy, I must learn to use preview before hitting post. Gleam should read glean, and parch? Perhaps my old brain is such. Pardon music lovers.
airegin...i just reviewed your review and found that your point of view was worth reviewing. In the end, I found my preview of your review of reviewers had too broad a view, as also within the preview the reviewer reviewing reviewers reviewed too much in my review, at least from the point of view of a preview. just my view.
I reviewed your comments Oakleys. Can I blame the serotonin re-uptake and/or the chemo meds? Oncologists/Pharmacologists on forum fire away.
hehe. with so much review"s"er"ing going on it just seemed natural...

I'm not talking about the majority on one site such as Amazon. The majority of several sites taken as a whole. Some sites where sound quality is discussed: Audiogon, Audio Karma, Pitchfork, Amazon, Acoustic sounds, Steve Hoffmann, The Absolute Sound, Stereophile, All about music,etc. Just look for them. Punch in "music reviews" and hit search (away you go ). They don't have to be "professional reviewer's" either. After reading several you can get a decent idea of the sound quality of a recording. Also certain labels are known for sound quality, Rhino is now more hit and miss, Vanguard, Blue Note, Mobile Fidelity. It is a crapshoot sometimes, though.