Well, Turbine's efforts are geared towards delivering a Middle-earth experience in LotRO. By that token, I don't want to compare to LotRO so much as I would like to see Cryptic's efforts become geared towards delivering a Star Trek universe experience.
I just don't feel like Cryptic takes the IP seriously enough.
I am an MMO fan on one hand. I am also a fan of Lord of the Rings, AND of Star Trek. So when I came to STO and to LotRO, I came as a fan of those IPs respectively. The biggest fundamental difference between STO and LotRO is that while LotRO was designed in such a way that the game's mechanics were wrapped around the IP, STO was designed in such a way that the IP was stretched around the game's mechanics.
Look at Risa... We have a beach, some hammocks and some trails to explore. We don't have the risa resort that was shown in the shows.
In Lord of the Rings Online, if I climb to the top of Weathertop, I find scorched earth, and the G-rune with the three marks that Gandalf left there. Someone who doesn't really care about Lord of the Rings likely wouldn't notice it. But anyone who calls themself a Tolkien Reader would automatically find themselvs looking for it, and smiling with pleasure at finding it.
To me it's not about which game is "better" so much as it is about which game puts forth a better effort to be true to its source material. I really wish I could say that it is STO. But as one who loves both Star Trek and Lord of the Rings, I would be lying if I did.
You're also ignoring two major aspects in this debate. STO's team is still rather small. It's hard to make a lot of story content and places to go when you struggle to fix bugs and to create one new social/adventure zone every year. I think the "Trek feel" you're talking about is existing on new romulus though. It's not a perfect place but it makes sense.
The other issue is that most of the Star Trek IP is based around philosophy, ethics, and scientific munbo-jumbo (TNG), finding a way to punch aliens in the face after 25 minutes of weird and slow character interactions (TOS), or around character interactions (DS9), and these elements aren't easy to bring into a game. It's really easier to make something looking like an IP if half of the said IP is counting your kills with a dward, sending fireballs in your enemy's face, or finding new ways to behead your opponent.
Middle Earth is at war, Star trek's galaxy isn't, and it's easier to build a MMO around epic battles rather than ethics.
I may agree with you as a TNG fan but i'm also aware of the fact that it's a game and popular games are those where you kill stuff.