I decided on this machine, the Kenmore 19233. These machines were made for Sears by Janome apparently, and they get rave reviews at sewing.patternreview.com and elsewhere. It was on sale, and I got a service plan for 3 years. It came with a cheesy instructional DVD with 80's elevator music in the background. It was very helpful to watch though. Seeing someone thread the machine is easier to understand than looking at a diagram in a manual. The parts are much more sturdy than the "plasticy" Brother, and it just feels more solid in general. Close-ups are on my Flickr page here.
Here's a picture of Maddie reminding me to read the manual and watch the DVD before playing with the machine: