In a nutshell:
Lightwave’s interface is very slick and intuitive. You can get to work very quickly and can produce good quality output efficiently. Lightwave tools are generally very well implemented so once you get going, you really don’t have to think about them.
On the negative side, Lightwave is not very flexible. It is very hard to do things that it is not designed for. Character animation is one example. The plug-ins and lscripts are relatively limited.
Blender is extremely open and extremely well featured, I think it even has more features than any single package out there. Things like camera tracking, compositing, sculpting, render layers and fluid simulation are all built in. You can switch to different renderers and many extensions easily.
On the negative side, the interface although much improved is still rather clunky . I like the customisable windows but things like in camera navigation is still a pain. There is also not much distinction between settings that are commonly used and the ones that most people would prefer not to bother.
Lightwave is still my tool of choice for completing projects efficiently. But you need to know its limitations and have a plan to work around them.
I will take time to learn Blender seriously. It got so much stuffs and more are being added constantly that it will give you a good idea of the kind of technology that is available without having to learn 100s of softwares separately. It is very good for experimental projects as well as training and education.