Well I went ahead and did it -- I'm getting an Avid Mech
Came to a little under 200 dollars total for the parts, relacing the wheel, and installing/setting up the brake.
They will get the parts in the shop in about a week. They're going to call me, I'll bring it in and they said they could have it ready to ride the next day.
I'm pretty excited, can't wait to see how they preform!
What finally pushed me over the edge was the wet, muddy conditions i'm riding in, and the fact that if my wheel got knocked a bit out of true, it'd very softly grind against my brake pads, which drove me crazy.
I'll let you guys know how I like them when I take my first ride.