Was this an unlucky anomaly?
Maybe. Then again, maybe not. Pressing quality is a notoriously risky proposition. One of the very best records ever pressed, the Mobile Fidelity 45 of Dire Straits Brothers in Arms is also one of the worst quality pressings ever. Not just my opinion either. What I was told when I called to return it. Only other record ever that maybe was worse, The Basement Tapes had a piece of lint or paper embedded, actually melted right into it. The MoFi skipped, popped, crackled, and not one side or track was anything less than awful. Acoustic Sounds took it right back. Last one they had. Found another at WalMart (go figure) that one was quite good.
Even when you get a good pressing, compare with any other copy, you will find no two are ever quite the same. Reissues are particularly bad. Almost always the best copy is an early run, but even then you cannot judge by when or the stamper used or anything else. We live in an age where the ability to manufacture is so near perfect we take it for granted that any one will be near identical to any other. Record pressing is not like that. Record quality is a total crapshoot.
The growth rate in sales of LPs has been double digits for so many years now that this year LP sales have actually matched or even overtaken CD sales. Well, of course. Even with all the problems they sound so much better. Totally worth it. But this rapid growth, its like when Tarantino released The Hateful Eight in 70 mm Cinemascope, there were hardly any projectors and even fewer trained projectionists capable of running it. Even Chad Kassem who has been working harder and longer at this than just about anyone else, gobbling up all the best equipment, doing the best he possibly can, even Chad can't manage to make but a few good copies every now and then. Its that hard.
Long as you focus on "audible groove noise and a number of ticks and pops" you are bound to be disappointed. And for what? Groove noise, ticks, and pops are inherent in the medium. The best medium yet invented by man. So relax. Enjoy. Perfect need not be the enemy of good. Only you can make it so.
By the way if you want to experience just how freaking good an old record can be click on over to BetterRecords.com find one of your favorites and see. Even if you don't buy one you can get yourself quite an education just reading what Tom Port has put together there.