Jakarta and XML at Apache was (once upon a time) the center of Java's hipness - from it were born a number of things Ant, Struts, Tomcat, Xerces, Xalan, Commons. Could we just be feeling the after-effects of the ASF's decision to move towards a model involving smaller, more-focused PMCs?
This is my theory, the "health" of a language has much to do with the vitality of the open-source community that uses it. I think that Java's future is currently evolving and incubating and that we will see the next class of innovation hit the general public in about one year.
Here are some of my candidates: Jess, Maven, Maven, Hibernate 3, Jython, Laszlo.