I think my view of the earlier Blur has been tempered by living in England through the whole Britpop/indie scene debacle with all the Blur vs Oasis nonsense that went on throughout - I ended up somewhat discounting all of it at the time and haven't re-evaluated since. The same goes for Pulp to an extent (although I do think they have some wonderful songs -superb lyrics), and certainly for Suede. With their self-title Blur album and 13 I thought they were making a refreshing and conscious rejection of all the Britpop stuff and finding an original sound. But that's just the opinion of a jaded, post-rockin Brit.
Believe me, on this side of the pond, anything that wasn't Pearl Jam et. al. was a sweet, sweet relief.
But now that the rubble is cleared, Blur really aren't my favorite, though the bloom has DEFINITELY faded off the Oasis rose; I wouldn't consider anything they've ever done equal to anything Blur has ever done.
I think Suede holds up remarkably well, and their first two albums are brilliant. I also think Pulp has some stuff that is absolutely classic. But my favorites, who never really got their due, even in England, not really: The Auteurs. And Mr. Luke Haines continues to crab at the world in the guise of Black Box Recorder, whose album is far and away my favorite so far this year... much better than the Blur, in my opinion. He's the only really inspired curmudgeonly pop stinger since Morrissey retired, for all intents and purposes.
But anyways, too much of this later Blur stuff sounds like they're doing a Radiohead thing. You can see my many opinions of post-OK Computer
Radiohead in other topics. I really much, much prefer music you can trace back to Ray Davies and Bowie and The Buzzcocks and Noel Coward (and, if you're Todd Haynes, Oscar Wilde) than music you can trace back to Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, and Genesis.