I wouldn't say that FastCGI is dead. Stable, yes. Dead, no. It's been working beautifully on my Debian boxes for years, and is still supported in the new Sarge that was just released. I believe the burgeoning Ruby on Rails community is picking it up, too, as one of the persistent mechanisms of choice. It just works, and darn well I might add.
One particularly thorny problem it helped me solve recently- I provide "boutique" hosting services for a rather large perl-based CMS that's under heavy development. I have clients that are on the stable branch and are happy where they are at, and clients that want to run the development "bleeding edge" branch. mod_perl makes this difficult because of namespace clashes, while with FastCGI I can run multiple long-running "instance scripts" and everything just works. And nicely, too.
You do lose the direct integration with the Apache API (I love mod_perl), but FastCGI is a very nice alternative persistent environment that's language independent.
-Any sufficiently advanced technology is
indistinguishable from doubletalk.