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The theme is a very subjective issue. At first I disliked brown, and I came to like it, for example.<BR>
Vista is certainly not a model of design. I hate their aero glass theme, it is a <B>usability disaster</B>.<BR>
Have you also tried ubuntu gutsy? The new clearlooks theme is quite different (based on glossy), though it is not the default theme. I have no idea if ubuntu's art direction is planning on modifying the ubuntu theme engine based on that, but I would be doubtful.<BR>
This new clearlooks theme (made by andrea cimitan, the creator of murrina) looks like a mix of Office-style toobars and Mac OS X to me, and I'm starting to like it. I'm attaching a screenshot to this email.