This article in the NY Times about the LHC's current problems was interesting. To be fair, the LHC is an incredibly complex undertaking. Making high quality superconducting joints between magnets is a complex business, involving spot-welding annoying materials like niobium-titanium alloys. Testing is a real pain, since room temperature measurements can't always identify bad joints. Still, they clearly didn't design an optimal testing and commissioning regimen. I'm sure they'll get these problems licked, and great science will eventually come out of the machine - it's just a question of how long that'll take. I do wonder, though, if stories like this are, in part, a consequence of their own publicity machine, which has been hammering the general public relentlessly for years about how the LHC is going to unlock the secrets of the universe.
This situation is a prime hazard of Big Science. One thing I definitely like about condensed matter and AMO physics, for example, is that you are often (though not always) in control of your own destiny. Progress is generally not dependent on 1000 other people and 500 vendors and suppliers, nor do you have to hope that some launch schedule isn't screwed up by a hailstorm. The general public needs to know that really good science can be done on a much smaller scale. While the LHC outreach effort is meant to inspire young people into pursuing physics, situations like these delays and the accompanying reporting probably frighten away more people from the field than they attract. If a layperson ends up with the impression that all physics is hugely expensive, and even then doesn't work right, that's not a good thing.