Here's what gets me about powers in 4e: It's hard to use them as tools, as flexible units that you can layer together. I don't mean they're hard to use, but they're very specific, very complete and self-sufficient, and non-utility powers (that's 80% of powers) aren't applicable outside of combat. Yes, getting the players to describe how their power looks gets people into the game more than saying "Radiant Smite hits AC 22 for 15", but I'm talking about a level above that here.
Since powers as written are unitaskers (thank you, Alton Brown), you can't easily repurpose powers like you could with spells and feats in 3.5. Pair that with the lack of Rule Zero in the 4e rulebooks, and I think we have found the main creative limitation of 4e as compared to other versions of D&D.
For example, the Cleric can't cast Weapon of the Gods on the Rogue's sword just before the Rogue's Deep Cut hits - Weapon of the Gods only works on the Cleric's weapon. Nor can a Cleric of Sehanine, patron of Thievery, trade the Weapon of the Gods daily power to bolster a Thievery attempt to pick a lock. I would totally allow that in my game - the lockpicks glow with a silvery light and grant a +5 bonus to Thievery for the next few minutes. If the players want to soak all their daily powers out of combat to get something important to the story accomplished, why should the rules stand in the way of what the players want out of their game?
What happened to casting Create Water in combat to hamper a fire elemental? Or Mending to fix the fraying rope you're climbing as you're being shot at by goblins? Or using your familiar to remotely cast Erase on the scroll the cultist is using to summon a demon? I'm not saying these are impossible in 4e, but cool, offbeat uses of non-combat spells are much harder to fit into the structure of 4e powers.
Is there something I'm missing here, or do powers as written really hem in a player's creativity, especially in non-combat situations?