The new cards aren't underwhelming: they do provide better performance per dollar than previous generations with the 4070Ti performing as good as the 3090s in most cases for $400 less. The only problem is the absurd price points getting pushed down the product branding stack.
Nvidia would have faced much less harsh criticism if it didn't nudge its product branding stack two price tiers up all at once. Had the RTX4090 been launched as the RTX4090Ti, the 4080 branded 4090 instead, 4070Ti as the $800 RTX4080, etc., people would likely have been fine with it.
Nvidia (and AMD) have mainly screwed themselves over with the razzle-dazzle of marketing "groundbreaking gen-on-gen branding performance" without regard for price points, possibly because the crypto boom was still going strong back when the engineering and marketing decisions were made.