I agree and disagree. Most of the larger cons are whatever you make of them. There is plenty of excellent content and you have two choices: 1) Drink until you're stupid or 2) Attend talks, and then party some after hours. If you look at the big "Cons" like BlackHat, Defcon, CanSec, SecTor, ShmooCon, Hope, etc then most of them have pretty good content. There is a whole set of additional conferences coming up which seems to have great content at a much lower price and that is the "B-Sides" movement. They have done a number of them this year, most have been streamed over the net so you don't have to "be there" but the people who are there seem to be more of the people who are into learning and social networking instead of folks who are looking for a great party.
All in all, I go to probably 3-5 a year some of which work pays for, some of which I pay for, but I try not to miss BH/Defcon/Bsides-Vegas and ShmooCon since they are both typically very educational and a lot of fun.
CISSP, CSSLP, MCSE+Security, MCTS, CCSP, GPEN, GWAPT, GCWN, NOP, OSCP, Security+