Listen to robjones. Links from the tens of thousands of crappy directories, especially if the same keywords are used in the hyperlink text, are exactly the type of links that Google targets with Penguin.
In the past, links from poor quality sources were discounted. Today, sites are penalized for using too many of these links. They no longer offer any real SEO benefit.
Local business directories and a handful of legitimate web directories that show PageRank on inner pages are the exception.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin