I don't think that Sonic Youth album sounded "generic" at all--it sounded like they were trying to do something that mostly avoided sounding like anything they'd done before, and didn't pull it off. Like they were already getting sick of their "MTV stardom," which you might recall a lot of people gave them crap for. It doesn't sound "generic," either. Just dark and small and not very interesting to me. I may finish the Sonic Youth discography someday--it feels like I SHOULD, since I've been listening to their best stuff for a very long time now!
The pre-1991 Soundgarden albums are by and large just plain not talked about. There aren't very many external reviews or essays to find about them if you look around the Internet, although "Loud Love" was in Wayne's World. I hate it when I find out that "underground" stuff from between the late 70s and 1991 isn't as good as I'm hoping for it to be.