FlowingData recently had an interesting guest post about an alternative way of visualizing tabular data. It was by Martin Krzywinski and featured his visualization tool called Circos. Circos can produce a wide variety of information-rich, radial-based diagrams.
Some of the comments on FlowingData were quite negative and inspired a follow-on post by Nathan titled Narrow-minded Data Visualization. His post and the many related comments are interesting reading for those who care about data visualization and the tension between traditional/novel , expert/amateur, and cautious/exuberant approaches.
Some of these diagrams are very information-dense and might be a challenge to decode for those without much experience in interpreting them but I believe they are likely a powerful technique in the right situation. I suspect that no matter what your feelings are on the utility you will find it stimulating to examine a few example diagrams created with Circos.