Now using Xubuntu 11.10 (Xfce 4.8). Installing GNOME apps as I need them, as long as they don't pull in large chunks of GNOME. Nautilus 3.2 is way more stable in Xfce than 2.32 was in Unityfied GNOME2.
It's noticeably more responsive on my aging Mini 9. There appears to be a blissful absence of background services sopping up CPU. Xfce mostly just stays out my way.
I had to install gvfs-backends. I installed Nautilus as my file manager, which also appears much more stable in Xfce. Totem instead of Parole. (Yeah, if there's one thing free software needs, it's another media player with a nonsequitur name.) There are occasional jarring lacks: the absence of any clear way to edit the menus (the wiki instructions don't actually work, nor lxmed, and alacarte pulls in 50MB of GNOME rubbish just to edit a menu); having to go command-line to make capslock a control key.
The forum is quite good. Even if the actual answer to questions is often "that's not implemented, feel free to write it."
The project is tiny and lacking in developers; if the devs are smart, they can take advantage of the GNOME3/Unity car crashes to boost their numbers of power users who are actually capable of fixing problems — when Linux kernel developers start posting rants about how they can't do actual work in GNOME3/Unity, that's a powerful untapped userbase. Perhaps an easy hacks list like the one for LibreOffice?
Anyone else trying Xfce or LXDE or whatever? What papercuts have you hit?