I'm in table hell

For the past three years, I've been the chief architect and de facto user interface designer for my company's search engine marketing application. This application is meant to be fast and efficient because it must return and analyze large amounts of data. As a result, the interface is pretty bare bones. Nothing fancy just straight HTML/CSS and some AJAX components here and there. Much of the data and interaction by the user is represented in a table format. You can pretty much sum up the entire application as a Excel spreadsheet with tabs on the top (as opposed to on the bottom which everyone misses in Excel). And there in lies my angst. There's has got to be a better way than just a bunch of screen with interactive spreadsheets. I've been looking around for some inspiration, but have come up empty-handed. Everyone is using either tables, grids,  lists or tiles to display large numbers of records. In some cases, I've seen these views combined with some success, but these are just hybrids of the same old tired methods. Maybe there isn't another way? Maybe these are the only ways humans can comprehend data. Or could there be a smell-o-vision spreadsheet in our future? There are 5 senses damn it. Let's use them all.

I will pray to any God(s) who will release me from my table hell!