I am now in Talca.
The reviews for Talca are not as good as those for Curico, but to me it seems like a better place to stay, for the following reasons:
There is more and better accommodation.
There is more to do.
I like the place.
Have been staying in the Tur-Bus hotel despite my nasty earlier experience with the Tur-Bussers (everyone deserves a second chance).
Luxury such as cable TV, breakfast, an en-suite bathroom and being located next to the bus station in preparation for tomorrows departure to Pucon.
Billed (in traveller speak) as the San Pedro of the south, complete with a semi-glaciated active volcano which you hike up the side then slide down the frozen glacier.
Also, rafting, kayaking etc.
An activity paradise no less.