> They tried to be bleeding edge and could not keep up
I do not think Gentoo's main call to fame ever was to be bleeding edge. That's certainly not the reason I keep coming back to Gentoo. The "current-ness" of packages is actually not very uniform across package types, but it's usually quite good.
Where Gentoo package choice is way ahead of other distros though, is in how easy it is to cherry-pick some package version from ~arch, masked packages, external repositories, or your own private repository. Without making a mess. To me, that more than offsets the fact that some packages may be missing or not bleeding-edge enough in the main stable repository.