Today I learned that I need to be heavy handed when post processing my film scans. It is probably old hat to most people here, but I'd been in digital-mode for a long time before turning back to film this year. In retrospect, the lesson is obvious: my scanner records 7200 dpi, but only resolves about 3900 dpi, so there's a lot of mush there to work through. Lightroom simply won't apply strong enough settings to the files because the kind of setting that works for an oversampled film scan would do unspeakable things to an image from a digital camera. Photoshop Elements works passably well with multiple sharpening runs (e.g., sharpen, downsize, sharpen, return to Lightroom), but RawTherapee takes the cake for me with its "Contrast by Detail Levels" system that is like King Kong when compared to the poodle that is Clarity.
Without working too hard at finding the best results, I now feel like my film images (35mm) only give up a slight edge in high resolution acutance to 16 mpix cameras and nothing in terms of noise/grain at ISO 100--which means I can move on from my flirtation with getting a new digital toy. (Unless that new toy is a scanner that gets all the detail out of the film--which would make an M240 kit look affordable.) Sorry that I don't have any good images to share; there's nothing I see in my library that matches up well enough, digital to film, to use to convince someone else of my conclusion. But for anyone out there in internetland who wants to get more crispness and detail out of their film scans, I highly recommend trying settings that go against every digital-camera-calibrated instinct that you may have.