There is an existing (quite old) issue to make XmlParser more like the current behavior of XmlSlurper (GROOVY-2812), i.e. call text() from toString(). This is for a single node rather than a node list but it seems some people quite like this behavior.
Personally I would like not to invest too much time in the existing XML apis - apart from fixing very obvious bugs. After we get modules into a final release, I would like to work on a replacement XML api - which may borrow from the existing ones but would be a separate module that could have breaking behavior changes. But feel free to make suggestions/contributions as a new api is still some way off.