Best way to make SMB suck less?

Smb2_medium Turd-poo-steaming-pile--of-crap-2_medium

I've been using Mountain Lion on my Macs - both upgraded and new - more intensively after a large part of my toolset became ML-friendly (thanks Apple for breaking everything with each so-called major release. As if the Apple-only devs who maintain some of my core OS X apps aren't incompetent enough). For most of my for-work systems, I've jumped from Snow Leopard to ML.

And one thing is clear. SMB is really messed up in ML. Admittedly since it doesn't have a major bearing for work since that's largely compartmentalised in OS X and AFP, I didn't really test much before upgrading - which is my fault but SMB - come on, I shouldn't have to.

Copies are DOG slow, there are huge issues in file and directory retrieval, etc. While SMB sucked royally in Lion as well, I think - and it may be my imagination - it may have been slightly better. With my ML upgrades across the board, the balance has tipped from "relatively unusable" to "this is a fucking joke". The difference is pretty stark coming from Snow Leopard in particular, not that SL was a particular paragon of competent SMB implementation either, but still.

What can I do to make it suck less? Third party tools (which don't cause KP's)? As I said in terms of work my Macs are fairly standalone but ironically in terms of home and entertainment use it's a bigger issue. I'm reducing my OS X involvement in that as well but it's still a factor.