Time Machine and Slow First Backup

So after my woes getting Leopard I started playing with one of it's best features on the weekend, Time Machine.

Time Machine is an example of what's so good about Mac OS X:  A beautiful UI on top of some serious software.  The initial experience is about as good as it can be:

Plug in external USB drive.  The system notices, asks if you want to use this drive for Time Machine Backups?  When you say yes, it asks you if it's OK to erase what's on the drive if it's not formatted HFS+ (the Mac native file system). Say yes to this, and you're done.  A backup is scheduled for a short time later.

However, some people have been reporting that this first backup is taking a very long time, and I was one of them.  My PowerBook has a 60 gig drive in it, and after 2 solid days of backing up, I started to get suspicious.

Digging around the Apple forums, I found a few people who said that letting Time Machine format the drive was the problem, so I stopped the backup, formatted the drive myself using Disk Utility, and then started a new backup.  This one went very quickly, completing the backup in a few hours.

During the slow backup I had a look at file system activity using fs_usage (a very handy tool), and noticed that the Finder process was constantly making getattrlist calls on files all over the Time Machine backup disks during the backup; during my successful backup this wasn't happening. 

Someone had also suggested that the problem was that Spotlight was indexing the backup drive during the backup, but before formatting the backup drive, I tried adding it to the Spotlight exclusions and kicking off a backup, and that didn't help.  The problem seems to be something related to how Time Machine prepares the disk.

Anyway, now that my initial backups are done, incremental backups are quick and I get to play with the funky Time Machine starfield UI that makes me want to trash files just so I can go get them from my backups.