Jeremy at SEOMix confirms that the page title hack that flips the order of post title & site name will be beneficial for post-pages trying to bubble up in search results. His ultimate implementation involves the dropping of the site name from post-page titles altogether. So that's the next question. How important is the brand? (not very important if no-one can find it, I guess....)
Thanks for the input, Jeremy, & for copying me on the conversation.