Backlinks WILL ALWAYS BE IMPORTANT it will just be harder and harder to game the system which means get your work done now to build your site because new sites are going to be harder and harder to gain traction with unless you have a great new hip thing, idea, etc or can spend a lot on PR. Making it again in favor of those with the money (like everything eventually becomes in every emerging marketplace). Lets face it this is good for everyone turn and burn sites are horrible for the long term growth of the internet, business and those of us that have a passion vs just want a nice car.
Think the big change is google is sourcing out that second and third link in the chain and really looking at context if you are a food site and you link from a general forum like reddit it is not very powerful contextual is huge.
Organic Search is great and think it is gaining some traction again vs adswords since the SERPS are getting much more relevant to someones search vs ads are just spammed sometimes. Like for us catering in a very specific nitch the big people have now drivin up the prices just on the word catering and appear in our search for Adwords even though they have zero relevance. We have seen ad words cost triple in 6 months due to this.