Inflation was cooked up to explain most of that after the fact, though, so it's unsurprising that it does. The fundamental problem with inflation is that too much is tunable. Penrose's cyclic cosmology explains all the same stuff, and at least has the decency to make some bizarre (and very likely false) predictions outside of the early universe.
Theories of the very early universe that require new fields that there's a way to detect today are interesting. Certainly there are ideas to explain dark energy as an extension of inflation that fit that bill. But theories that propose a bunch of cool new physics that all conveniently vanished early on are a bit sketchy, at least until we can somehow make an equivalent of WMAP for the neutrino background radiation, and observe the very early universe directly. I hope I live to see that!