Local business directories are also good directories, but you typically need to use a street address with a listing. A lot of local business directories in the USA, such as Kudzu, are authority sites. I give a local business directory thumbs up when it shows up in a Google Places account.
IMHO, I would put most directory listings at rock bottom in quality, especially when the inner pages never show any PageRank (n/a) and even Yahoo does not acknowledge the links as backlinks. We have done tests using thousands of bulk directory listings and have never seen them have any effect--good or bad--on rank positions. It appears that they are ignored by most search engines.
Focus on building quality links. One good quality link can be worth more than thousands of poor quality links. Supplements this with links from relevant sources, such as blogs with related articles.
"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