Thanks for the info mander....
I was also just reading some stuff by sheldon brown, and answering a few of my own questions:
With automobile brakes, a nice "hard" pedal feel is a sign that the brakes are in good condition. A soft, "spongy" feel at the brake pedal is a sign of trouble, perhaps air in the hydraulic lines. This is not the case with bicycle brakes. A hard, crisp feel to the brakes on a bicycle may be a sign that the brakes don't have much mechanical advantage. You squeeze them until the brake shoes hit the rim, then they stop. Brakes with a high mechanical advantage will feel "spongy" by comparison, because the large amount of force they deliver to the brake shoes will squash the shoes against the rim, deforming them temporarily under pressure. You can feel this deformation in your fingers. The brakes with the rock-hard feel may seem nice on the work stand or the showroom floor, but when it comes to making the bike actually stop, the spongy set-up will do the job better, with less finger pressure and greater margin for safety in wet conditions.
I find this really interesting... It explains why the countless Cantilever Brake setups I worked on in stands felt so solid to me... that was actually not really a good thing!
Anyway... thanks for the advice everyone. It sounds like the tektros may be the way to go... Should I worry about stabbing my leg with those guys? I ride pretty small frames... I'm short, if that makes any difference.