Yes, it's only the built-in flash for me as well that needs such severe flash exposure compensation. However, when bouncing my SB-800 off-camera flash/SC-29 remote TTL combo, I need far less, if any, flash exposure compensation, as I recall. Built-in flashes always tend to be too hot at default settings. My D70's flash exposure compensation was typically dialed down to about -1.7 EV, so these data seem to jibe with The Man's as well.
As for the mushy shutter release, yes, there's less "feedback" because of either the extended travel, or less noticable "release point." Sort of like the difference between driving with power steering vs. un-powered rack-and-pinion.
That said, it's a great camera! Initially, I thought the noise levels were nearly identical to my D90 when I first viewed the dpreview comparison images (which made seeing noise difficult due to the lack of chroma or shadow area in the test images), but I recently viewed some other D90/D7000 high ISO tests which showed that the D7000 held far more detail at higher ISOs than the D90 (even though I own both bodies, I haven't bothered to make my own comparisons yet).
I am talking about using flash in slow-shutter mode (typically, night interiors), exposing for the ambeint light level (typically, background lighting), and illuminating my subject with the flash as their primary key.
Again, these are nits I'm picking. The D7000 is a great camera (ESPECIALLY, now that Nikon has released their "stuck-pixel fixing" firmware), and will be an excellent second-body to my 2011 FX body purchase someday.
I was a bit worried last night when I was viewing some quarter-second, night-exposures I took recently at Disneyland. There were some visible white dots in the near-black sky (before the firmware upgrade, my D7000 exhibited dozens of small, white, hot pixels). Thankfully, they turned out to be airplanes!
Again, thanks to the firmware fix, I love my D7000 now. It's the best DX camera I've ever owned.