I'm not sure whether I'd describe CMSs as barren environments -- it is the very fact that they appear rich that makes them deceptive. And any time one says, "well, this CMS can't do that", Blackboard will be doing it somehow (albeit in a closed manner) within a year or two.
Since the design of these behemoths seems to lead to "plug and play" behavior in novice instructors, another solution might simply to not introduce them to the CMS until they've done something else first. I notice a lot less "wow" comments and gullible behavior among faculty who are comfortable in Facebook or Ning, or have used other technologies in class.
If we start with the individual instructor's pedagogy (far preferable than starting with a team design approach), the question becomes, "what will help you do that?" The answer will only be a CMS when the instructor strays from the question, and starts talking about gradebooks and record keeping.