I found that Picasa does well for very basic image processing, but thats about it. Applies for the latest version, also.
Digikam gives me much more and more fine-grained options for photo-retouching. And you can get a very similar gui layout choosing 'flat list' option and marking the main folder. Choose 'show subfolders' (or so, not in front of it right now) and all your images will show. You can narrow down the number of images shown by clicking the stars in the status bar or chosing tags in the right sidebar (downmost section).
Once we Texstar blesses us with a current version, there will be face recognition and more cutting-edge features that will make Picasa look like a mere toy.