I posed a question regarding classical mastering a while back and it sparked a rather big debate.
I think, ultimately the recording engineer in today's society must play the role of mastering engineer to a degree. Do many of the REs suck at being MEs? Sure, but it's what the artist can afford.
In general, I master all my own stuff, but truthfully, I've put together a modest mastering setup of my own including powerful and clean HiFi amps (Rotel) and NHT 2.5i speakers (not Dunlavy's but they sure are accurate as hell), a REL sub (best $4000 sub I ever bought for $850 - I knew a guy who knew a guy...) Then of course, factor in Sequoia, some good plugs from the kind folks at Waves and Timeworks (soon to be Algorithmix too) and a mastering setup you have.
Of course, I also feel a tad comfortable in the medium in which I work. Having sat in pro orchestras for 20 years, I'm pretty sure I'm familiar with the sound of an orchestra - which helps a great deal. I recently sent a project off to a ME at the request of the client. They dropped $500 cash and got a distorted and uber-compressed piece of sh*t back. Oh well, the ME they suggested does pop recordings and wouldn't know a harpsichord from a harp.
Now, that being said, I just worked out a deal today where all of my "farmed out" mastering will be handled by Airshow. These guys are fantastic and know how orchestras should be treated. Basically, if I can't do it or the client wants it worked over by another warm body, the good fella's at Airshow will work it over and return a jewel. It's confidence in the ME and their overall products that drove me to Airshow, but it's confidence in my own work ethic and pride-of-work that allows me to be the final cog in many a creative wheel.
To answer your question regarding -
What do you put into the CD you deliver your client, as-is edited, or raise everything to peak?
I treat every project as if it were the New York Phil. Even Jr. High bands get the same treatment. I never simply level the channels and then hit burn. Always, always always I listen to the entire disc making small corrections (gain riding, eq, compression only when necessary and often frequency conscious) and essentially manually normalize the disc to the loudest sections throughout the entire program all the while trying to preserve dynamic range and fight off noise where possible.
That means my average turn around for a finished product is around 5 weeks, but I've never had a complaint about it when they hear the disc. (Well, sometimes, but I can't do jack about crappy playing )