Mint 15 freshens Ubuntu's bad bits
Mint is a relative newcomer to the world of popular desktop distros, but it has recently started to take the GNOME and Unity-hating Linux world by storm.
The recent release of version 15, called Olivia, should help it secure a reputation as “the” alternative desktop. If you'd like a modern set of desktop tools without a completely new desktop interface to go with, then Mint 15 has what you're after.
Mint is a very consumer-oriented distro offering respite for the many users unhappy with Ubuntu's Unity desktop on one side and GNOME Shell on the other. Mint still uses Ubuntu as its starting point (Ubuntu 13.04 for Mint 15), but strips out Unity in favour of Mint's own desktops. Also note that, somewhat confusingly, there's also a Debian-based version of Mint, but it uses a "semi-rolling" schedule based on Debian's testing release.