i've been using the perl templating module HTML::Template, for years and have never felt at all limited by it, even though it probably falls closer to the Dumb end of the spectrum.
as i've started working more in python, i discovered an underappreciated benefit of HTML::Template: language independence. the template syntax itself isn't tied to perl or any other language and clones exist for python, php, java, and probably other languages. so the designers i work with haven't had to learn a new template syntax just because i've changed to a new application language, and i've been able to successfully port apps from perl to python without touching the template files.
also, perrin harkins has a pretty good discussion of various templating systems (perl oriented but the basic ideas carry over): http://www.perl.com/pub/a/2001/08/21/templating.html