If you install the newer packages you want, who cares what the "default" package is?
Personally I'd much rather a distro that lets me choose which version of packages to install rather than shoving one down my throat randomly during updates of the system.
Granted, the Debian stable I run isn't full of the latest shiny, shiny, but it isn't causing update problems by rolling out new versions of packages, either. Both Debian stable and RedHat RHEL are focused on stability, not bleeding edge development. No one in their right mind runs production systems on untested versions of packages, and no one (not even banks) can afford to do constant regression testing on the latest releases of software just because it's "new."
I'm constantly surprised at how many people opt for downloading the "production" version of my own project, even though that really was just a peg in the dirt of functionality, not some big fancy schmancy roll-out that went through more testing than other releases. There are bug fixes and new features in the latest and greatest, but a lot of people don't want that -- they want that peg in the dirt, and are content to wait for an SP1 to get access to the new features and bug fixes.
Don't forget it can often take a few months to properly regression test software. It isn't just an issue of booting with the latest version and making sure it starts running -- it's testing how it responds to having network cables yanked, power flipped off hard, sometimes even yanking hardware components while a box is running. Serious servers aren't something you just push out after running them with a dozen users for a week.