For canned pears I think it is worth it to pay more for the name brand. I usually buy the kind in light syrup or in juice, no artificial sweetners. I know what you are talking about with the weird hard crap that some brand pass off as pears. Like, really, you sell this? LOL... you could probably sprinkle sugar on them and put them in the fridge for a while to improve the flavor.
Also, here is a recipe page I dug up. Looking at some of the stuff I found, you can use them in any pear recipe where you cook them, kind of like canned vs fresh peaches. http://www.allabouty...ed-pear-recipes