1. Most of the criticisms of neoclassical economics are correct.
2. The alternatives to neoclassical economics, if implemented on a large scale, would be worse. Greater realism per se does not offer much insight. Constructs such as "chaos theory" have not gone anywhere for economics.
3. Mainstream economics has improved greatly over the last twenty-five years (really!). It is more policy-relevant and there is less worship of pure theory. There is greater recognition of how various results can be context-dependent. Experimental and case study methods are more prominent. We pay attention to behavioral factors behind choice. Development and growth are more central as fields of investigation. Some economists are even blogging, believe it or not.
4. The real problem is economists, not economics. Love of ideas, love of learning, love of reading, and greater interest in other disciplines would remedy many current problems. Admittedly that is a tall order. But those are issues of time constraints and sometimes personal virtue, not method per se.