GG - In one of my more important categories, sites using <title> tags are seemingly penalized, or at least poorly ranked.
Don't think keywords in title tags - They are trying to go beyond that:
The goal of a good search engine should be both to understand what a document is really about, and to understand (from a very short query) what a user really wants. And then match those things as well as possible.
Time to think bigger than 'put some words here, put some words there'.
And with regards to the tags, again, fuhget-about-it ;-]
At the very minimum, they won't penalize you for coding with standards, and I can show you 14000000 poorly ranked pages with title tags.