I managed to follow your instructions for Synaptic
.. [I'm a bit slow when trying to quite caffeine - don't let it happen to you
and installed the printer task misc package, but it seems there is no generic cups driver for the mfc-290c.
So for anyone else with a 290c:
To get it working I had to go to the brother site:http://welcome.solutions.brother.com/bsc/public_s/id/linux/en/index.html
Download the two RPM files for the the mfc-290c, and then run the rpm install commands via terminal.
In my case:
rpm -ihv --nodeps mfc290clpr-1.1.2-2.i386.rpm
rpm -ihv --nodeps mfc290ccupswrapper-1.1.2-2.i386.rpm
Seems to be working fine [knock on wood].