if you just want a compact point and shoot, i can highly recommend the Panasonic Lumix series. my dad has one, and it actually takes great pictures.
but if you want better image control and possibly better image quality. look towards the cameras we have mentioned here.
Canon offers great cameras in the consumer line. as does nikon. i have heard some sony cameras are good, but ive yet to try one that i liked.
one that i was particularly interested in was the Olympus - C8080. its actually a pretty darn good camera. discontinued now, so you can find one for a good deal i bet.