ibm has released another beta version of its supercool icu4j. these betas are also released as an executable JAR (i only noticed this with the first beta for 3.0), so you can jump right into testing.
while i was perusing the icu4j site i stumbled across this interesting page: collation performance comparison. wow! icu4j beats the snot out of the plain java JDK for collation over most locales (except for ja_JP and ko_KR locales, note that locales <> collation). i know that collation is of some interest to many i18n folks, so this is kind of interesting news.