Coke didn't change their recipe. Ooops, scratch that.
I have no doubt the Coca-Cola experience is studied in business schools, and to Coke's credit, they quickly did an about face, brought back Classic Coke, had a massive PR campaign, and came out better than before. They listened to their constituency.
But tastebuds and search results are two different animals. The average person in the public-at-large could tell that New Coke was not as good as classic; on the WWW, it is mostly professional searchers and webmasters that have seen the difference in Google, and have given it a thumbs down. We know they don't listen to us, and in fact, they pat themselves on the back and tell interviewers how pleased they are with the Panda results.
So I think the lesson is this: until the public-at-large begins turning away and vocally complaining, what we see now is what we'll get for the foreseeable future. This is why it is probably futile to sit and wait for the algo to correct itself (it won't), and why everyone must proceed as if there is no Google, because in reality, for many of us, the Google we see is not the Google we knew (in results OR philosophy!), and it won't be coming back anytime soon..... if ever.