Oh snap, did they just tell all 800x600 and lower res. users to get with the fuckin' times? Good. Seriously. I mean I know people should be designing with relative widths and stretchiness, etc. but for a town like Madison, most of your audience should be relatively up-to-date with their technology - it's 2007, and assuming that most end users are at 1024x768 shouldn't be too much to hope for.
I don't necessarily think there's too much info on the front page, I just think it's lacking a clear visual hierarchy. Sure, there's whitespace, and the color scheme and font sizes/choices aren't too heavy, but it just doesn't scan well.
Oooh. Gradients and a few rounded corners. If you're gonna round your corners on some elements, round 'em on all of them.
Oooh. Plus and minus buttons. Except I'd intuitively expect the + or - to expand or collapse that particular box, not add or subtract a line from the bottom.
And while they did move away from using tables for layout, they did it in that baby-step way of basically substituting a massive amount of td's with non-semantic div soup.
And it's obviously way too fucking much to ask people to write code that validates, especially large newspapers with means and resources at their disposal. I mean, fuck page loading times (and therefore bandwidth costs and ad conversions), accessibility, search engine optimization, ease of future maintenance, and forward compatibility. The only people who care about that kind of shit are WC3 sycophants, am I right? High fives!
Overall, there's a lot I about which I could nit-pick. They did some good things, like dropping 800x600 support, and lord knows it's organized light years ahead of their old page. Still, though, it's just a cosmetic redesign with a smattering of last year's web 2.0 aesthetics and a tiny bit of actual usability and information organization/presentation upgrades.