ITunes Library File Cannot be Saved. The Disk Cannot be Read From . . .

I use a MacBook Pro with a healthy battery. My iTunes songs are on a USB drive. The Database and XML files are on my MacBook. Power went out in my house and the USB drive shut off. The MacBook stayed up and running. Power came back, powered on the USB drive, open iTunes, and bang: This sorry error: iTunes Library File Cannot be Saved. The Disk Cannot be Read From or Written to.
The disks are healthy, did an fsck and ran disk verify/repair. No problems. Restart iTunes, same error. Obviously a corrupted Databse file. This wouldn't be a big deal if only the XML info would be useful and actually restore critical info such as play count and dates which is essential for the Not-So-Smart Playlist dependencies to work.
This is the third time I've been burned with corrupted iTunes "Database" files. I use "Database" in quotes because a true Database wouldn't crap out like this. It would be recoverable. It would understand a simple SQL "Where" statement. It would have a maintenance script and some means for recoverable backup beyond the lame process of copying the XML file. Or it would at least read in the info the XML file.
I am becoming disillusioned with iTunes and I'm beginning to yearn for my old Linux box running GTKPod which never failed me....

OK, here's an update - After doing the restore as mentioned having everything seemingly work, I erroniously downloaded the iTunes 7.4 & 7.4.1 updates. Now, about 80% of library is non-responsive, ie: shows up in iTunes, but clicking to play does nothing at all. the other 20% of my library plays, but it's not the song it is supposed to be playing. For example, clicking on a song from say, ABBA prodes a wonderful Gorillaz track :-/ (The same Gorillaz track which will not play if I select it...)

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