The hard drive on Macbook Pro died again the yesterday, so I had it in to my friendly neighborhood Apple Store to replace it once again.
Luckily, I was fully backed up through Time Machine this time, and when I got my machine back last night (note to self: always go to the flagship Apple store for repairs, they get your machine back to you much faster than other Apple stores) and started it up, one of the new options during setup was "Restore from Time Machine Backup". I chose that option, plugged in my disk, and when I woke up this morning my machine was back in exactly the same state that it was the day before.
That's not all though, it appears as one of the unexpected side effects of doing this is to clear out all of the temporary and log files that have built up over the last year or so. I went from 18 gigs of free space to over 30 gigs of free space just by going through the restore process.
So now I'm thinking that I might do just do a full reinstall of OS X and restore from Time Machine a couple of times a year to repeat this process. So far I haven't seen any downsides. Everything that I use in a normal day seems to be working perfectly (and actually, some things are going faster, I'm assuming because whatever trail of temp files they create over time has been cleaned up). If your machine is running slow or is low on space, doing a reinstall and a restore might be worth a try.