Blender has a new Beta out, bringing it up to version 2.53. I was going to try to give you a breakdown on the important bits, but as you can see here, they have changes across the board in the tool; Physics, rendering, animations, sculpting, modeling, etc have all got updates.
If you haven't seen Blender in a while, you might stop on in.
Here's some cut and pasted bits from the website if you haven't been convinced to go look yet:
Blender 2.5 has a new GUI layout, with updated graphic design and a new icon set. The GUI layout has been re-designed to be clearer, better organised and easier to navigate, and is fully customisable with Python scripting. Other improvements include a new file browser, customisable tool shelf and more.
Custom keyboard shortcuts
Blender 2.5 has been designed from scratch to enable users to configure their own keyboard shortcuts. Key definitions are be grouped in "key maps", and each map can be fully customized and saved. Keymaps can also be configured for special input methods such as directional gestures and tweak events, any-key modifiers, or multi-key input.
64 bits for Windows, Linux & OS X
Next to Linux and Windows, we now support a 64 bits versions for OS X too. This required a full recode of the low level windowing library to support Cocoa, which is good news for Blender's future on Macs in general!
Blender's method of accessing brushes for painting tasks has been updated and streamlined. Brushes store all paint-related settings, such as size, strength, tool type, textures and influence curve, and can be switched between in the brush list box or with shortcut keys. As well as the preset brushes included with Blender, you can also save your own, and assign your own shortcut keys to them.
Particle systems have had a refresh, now taking advantage of fully interactive animation playback and editing. New additions include particle path editing with brush tools, a new point caching system, new boids physics and hair dynamics using cloth simulation.
Blender 2.5 includes a new fluid-based smoke simulation engine. Alongside this is capability to scale up a low-resolution sim, maintaining detail with wavelet turbulence. Smoke can be generated by input particle motion, and can be affected by colliding obstacles and force fields. The smoke data is output as voxels, which can be rendered as a volume