I actually ended up reading an 'expose to the right' article soon after submitting my original post. Still working or applying the technique, but at least now I'm aware of it.
I'm not sure what you mean by muddy, in this context at least... like drab? or dull?
You might get these less muddy (clearer, sharper) if you really perfect your RAW developing techniques. But even so, these are already better than any I've shot. That last critique let you know just how far you are from "fine art perfection."