nothing ever will be perfect so what looks OK could stay
Sure. The point is just to find this "OK" level, which as you see, grows gradually, like a good wine ;)
Yes, I also like the username / date on top layout. But it appears pretty good only for some certain forum like ours. We don't have avatars here, registration dates displayed, number of posts or special statuses or ranks. If to put all this stuff together, the "modern" layout won't work.
I'm also getting so many requests from customers to put threaded view in the old-school mode, that I'm starting to think it contains something magnificent which I can't really understand. Surely, it brings more comfort in reading, because the width of the text is ~15% smaller, and it allows to read text-only without paying attention to the username; and on the other hand, it allows to scroll by usernames only. In our version, I've also moved "tools" links to the right, so they don't catch the eye dramatically when scrolling.
It seems with the new version I'd like to just get back to the old school, but only in some more refreshing colors, and that would complete it then. With each such step, we're getting closer to it :)