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Force.com IDE not recognizing Deployment candidates


I work on a (distributed) team of two on our SFDC Enterprise Edition instance.  My colleague noticed a problem with the deployment tool the other day where candidates for deployment do not accurately reflect the differences between the production env and the sandbox from which we are deploying.  I didn't notice the problem until today but now I'm seeing the same thing.  Totally new Custom Objects show up as 'No Action' although they should show as 'Add', changed VF pages and Apex classes show as No Action although they should show as overwrite.  


Is there something corrupt with the Schema file or with metadata files associated with the code assets?




We've had this problem as well. Often times it's caused by dependent pieces not being deployed seperately (even if they're not recognized as changes).  I've had to narrow the focus to ONLY the classes or objects I'm trying to deploy, then deploy in cascade. (Just the App, then just the object, then only the layouts, etc.)