A few things about Texture mapping and Workflow...
I agree, and I think the 3 texture tools could easily be combined into 1 or 2 tools that work together automatically. Example, if I Paint a Material on an object or face, it could then automatically switch to the Edit Texture tool, saving a step of needing to go and select that tool. I find the Map Texture tool only necessary when using more complex mapping of faces of an object. It works OK, but in my opinion the old pre v7 FormZ Detail Mapping worked better with more options, and I wish we could have some form of it back. It sure seems like the Edit Texture tool and Map Texture tool could be combined at the very least to help reduce the number of tools used while mapping.
Regarding the newer style of mapping, I REALLY like the visual feedback of quickly mapping textures using Shaded View. If you aren't using snaps, Snap to Points, and Snap to Interval are really great, and provide 99% of any snapping I need in modeling, and make mapping textures a VERY speedy process. Way faster than anything I've used elsewhere.
I've found if you customize your toolbar, you can keep all 3 Texture related tools more quickly accessible (and Set Layer !!), so quickly switching between them is less of a big deal. I've also been using a right sided toolbar lately because it reduces the amount of mouse movement across the screen going from Tools to Tool Options. I feel like it's reduced unnecessary mouse movement by enough that I'm less worn out after a full day of modeling and rendering. Check it out!