I was recently looking for an Avant Window Navigator replacement and tried out most of the docks out there. And then i saw that Cairo Dock, which wasn't near one of the best has a new version only downloadable on it's website (with .deb files for Ubuntu too) and after trying it, i was amazed.
Cairo-Dock is an animated launch bar similar to SimDock or AWN. You can use it to launch applications and utilize small applets that live on the bar. It lacks some of the visual effects provided by AWN, but it my experience it runs a little faster.