First off, your recollection of how TC worked is not correct. No official TC version had a limit on number of password tries.
I think there were some custom compiled versions with this functionality but these were posted on file sharing sites, not supported by the TrueCrypt Foundation.
Limited retries are a legitimate security feature only if the hardware provides serious obstacles to directly accessing the header. For a standard laptop, you would need to disable all IO devices. Fill the LAN and USB ports with epoxy and remove the CD drive for example. Then you need to do something so that the HD can't be accessed without destroying the laptop, HD or both. Maybe glue it in place?
There is a device called an Iron Key that uses limited password tries. It has integrated tamper detection and self destruct built in though. If you try too many times, the header gets wiped. If you try to take it apart, you trigger a header wipe as well. The Iron Key is just USB thumb drive on steroids though and not something you would run an OS from. There are laptops and tablets that are designed this way but these are designed for use by the military and others needing heavy duty security.
That said, there may be a case for adding this feature in the near future. Tablets and smart phones are more and more becoming sealed and non-serviceable devices. You still need tamper detection that triggers header self destruct though. If your adversary can open up the case and remove the disk they can extract the header.
But now we are discussing your threat model. Are you worried about a common thief, local police, or government agency?