It does seem that high energy physics has indeed been spinning it's wheels for many years now. It wouldn't surprise me if, in the coming years, some little fellow from Pakistan comes along with a completely new perspective that tosses the last two decades of work out the window.
It's happened before. In the 1960's, all the theorists were into dispersion relations, S-matrices, Pomerons, and Regge poles. A few mavericks worked with quantum field theory, but most people regarded it as a dead end. Nowadays everyone works in quantum field theory, and those other formalisms aren't used.
Pretty much the case, although I seem to recall that Hawking recently used some S-matrix ideas in arguing that black holes don't violate 'conservation of information' (as he thought they did for many years). Am I remembering that correctly?
Nice post. :-)