I've just read an interesting "anti-joomla" article called "How to choose the right CMS". While I don't agree with the broad-stroked advice of the author regarding Joomla, I was intrigued by some of the promising new CMS options out there.
Concrete5 make it very easy to test-drive their CMS on their dedicated hosting platform. Basically, you sign-up for a test account which expires in 15 days (unless you sign-up for a hosted account). Starting your risk-free trial literally takes 30 seconds and then you can play around with your own installation, both the admin interface and the front-end.
You can give it a try here:
After loggin in, you will be forwarded to the admin interface call the Dashboard. It is very different compared to Joomla and reminds me a lot of the Wordpress backend. Site statistics, form data and "pretty" urls are all built in along with theme, user and extension managament. I've not played too much with the permissioning, but they do appear to support the creation of custom usergroups with fine-grained permissions.
Once you've played around a bit in the Dashboard, view the frontend and click the "Edit Page" and "Add Page" links at the top-left of the screen. Very effective use of AJAX/Web 2.0 in the editing interface and not like Joomla or Wordpress. The "Add Page" link is particularly interesting as all the options available for a new page are shown including permissions, publish date, layout and even version control.
You know, if i get a client who needs a simple, content-only web site, I just might give concrete5 a spin. I like what I see despite the relative lack of professional templates and extensions.