Bears have choices.
Many, many, many choices. Probably too many. And of course, things will change; since I did my first preview two months ago bears have added several new abilities, talents and skills to their repetoire. So I'll go with both the generic and the specific on this so that in case anything else comes up, it'll be at least mostly accurate.
For bears as for all tanks, the rule has been ever simple: survival first, then threat, then situational abilities. Sure, you can go for the threat build early on and make your DPS happy, but if you die it won't matter at all. That was actually a viable build for paladins post T6, for instance, and it may be a viable strategy for bears. But I'm considering the case where you're facing a boss that hits harder than you've ever seen, or makes it so that healers simply can't heal you that often. Or when, simply, you're at the edge of progression and need the survival. That's the general thinking on tanking and what we'll go with first in terms of priority.
The essential talents for all bears are:
Ferocity (5 points)
Thick Hide (3 points)
Savage Fury (2 points)
Survival Instincts (1 point)
Feral Swiftness (2 points)
Feral Charge (1 point)
Predatory Strikes (3 points)
Heart of the Wild (5 points)
Natural Reaction (3 points)
Survival of the Fittest (3 points)
Leader of the Pack (1 point)
Protector of the Pack (3 points)
Mangle (1 point)
Total talent points required: 33
That surprised me too. Since WotLK launched I've felt feral was overbloated, but the fact is that the core tanking talents aren't really that big. The big problem here is tier 6; Tier 6 has 11 talent points in essential talents, but there are only 17 talent points before it that are absolutely required.
From there, you get a lot of talents that rock but are not required for any specific reason. Why? Because they either all deal with threat at around 1% more threat per talent point, are situational, or are buffs that are taken care of by other classes.
As I said above, the tricky part is tiers 1-5. There are only 17 talent points that are required. The rest are situational and may be wanted or not depending. The classic build would have 3 points in Sharpened Claws, two in Primal Fury, and three in Feral Instinct. Those could also be put into Feral Aggression as well. Personally, I would put the points into Primal Precision before Primal Fury. In any case, you need 8 more points to get to 25, but after that you need exactly 41 to get everything that is required in the feral tree including mangle. And 52 total for the 11 point resto tax.
From there, it comes down to a lot of personal preference and the big bugaboo - raid utility versus threat output. Of the remaining talents, I would get them in the following order:
Rend and Tear
That's a total of 52 points spent in the feral tree. Why those 4?
Primal Fury is a requirement for doing cat DPS. It also helps quite a bit with offtanking and when tanking multiple mobs with swipe can give essentially infinite rage.
Improved Mangle is not a huge threat win; replacing one swipe or lacerate in 6 seconds with one mangle is not actually as big of a threat gain on a single target as you might think. This, however, enables fairly decent DPS using mangle spam for cats without requiring shredding attacks.
Rend And Tear is close to the best threat benefit, point for point, that bears have. Since maul makes up 50% of our threat currently, each point in R&T is a 2% threat boost, straight up. That's almost as good as primal precision. That it also helps cat DPS cycles is a bonus.
Berserk is just fun. A fear ward is great, but 10 mangles in 15 seconds is just a huge boost of early threat. Mostly, it's a fun talent that should be taken because it increases your joy.
Assuming the standard 11 points in the resto tree to get Omen of Clarity, what's left? Well, if you've followed my advice, you've got 7 talent points to play with, and the following talents to put them in that are worth anything:
Improved Leader of the Pack (2 points)
Feral Aggression (5 points)
Shredding Attacks (2 points)
Brutal Impact (2 points)
Infected Wounds (3 points)
King of the Jungle (3 points)
Master Shapeshifter (essentially 5 points)
Predatory Instincts (3 points)
And again, we come down to utility vs. threat vs. cat.
On the cat talents: Shredding attacks is almost entirely a cat talent, but it's a good one. Shred is still the winner on DPS, though it's not nearly as high a winner as it used to be thanks to mangle being buffed to 200% damage. Despite the tooltip, Predatory Instincts is 100% a cat talent; it does nothing for bear for either ability, at least right now. It is still a big boost to cat DPS. King of the Jungle is primarily for cat and is a big boost there, though an early enrage to build up threat combined with berserk means such a huge threat lead it's not funny.
The utility talents: brutal impact gives bears an actually useful interrupt at 30 seconds. This isn't the most essential in a raid environment but could be really nice for 5-mans. Feral Aggression is required if your raid doesn't have it but is likely better taken by a warrior if possible; it's not as costly to them to spec into as it is for druids. Improved Leader of the Pack is a middling useful talent. The healing rarely helps tons, though now that it's raidwide it may be a bit better. The mana back is nice for soloing and pvp. Infected Wounds is another talent similar to feral aggression; it's needed if your group doesn't have it already, but pretty superfluous if they do - and all the tank classes get something similar to it for cheaper.
Master shapeshifter helps threat and helps cat as well, but the 5 points spent to get it are very costly. 5 points for 4% more damage or 4% more crit rating is not a particularly good bargain no matter how you slice it. I don't recommend this any more, but for the best threat possible this is what you want.
And that's it. And really, after those 41 points you can do almost anything. If you need a high-utility build, take feral aggression instead of rend & tear, take infected wounds instead of improved mangle, and take brutal impact along with imp LotP. If you want to be more of a hybrid take king of the jungle, predatory instincts, shredding attacks and drop imp mangle. Even furor isn't necessary to max out, and putting two points in Imp mark of the wild is a decent idea.
It's no longer the case that every feral is going to have the same 47/14 build where 10 of those points are very flexible. But all bears should have the same 33/11 core talents, with 8 of those spent in different ways depending. I like that there is more chance for true hybridization or situational abilities or dealing with needs in the raid. The tree is looking pretty sharp right now. I would like to see more spreading of essential talents for bears and cats and possibly a separation of ferocity and feral aggression into a cat-only and bear-only talent, but these are quibbles. And as long as you go for those 33/11 points, you should be good to tank anything.