Chris, I really like the bg_top.gif from your current home page. Very professional looking. Maybe you could change it's color to suit whatever you finally decide on... I would reuse it/resize it for use at the top under your menubar.
I also like the sidebar of information from your original design. Anyone looking with a 600x800 rez will have more choices of what you have to offer. I like the uncluttered feeling of your new design, so this design enhancement may challenge you a bit.
I wonder if the white space on the right of your headings is on purpose? I'd personally like to see it extend all the way accross the page.