A few years ago I started using Scala and have even worked at shops where I convinced them to let me use it on larger scale telecom projects. There are things in Scala that can be terse and weird, but it's more than just a clean version of Java. If you learn all the tricks, it's got a lot of syntactic sugar and functional syntax that lend itself to shorter more manageable code. I'm still using it for some pretty big projects like BigSense.io.
Although it's not just Scala, Groovy and Clojure are both languages that try to leverage the existing JVM and the rich base of Java libraries with a newer language.
Java was a big stepping stone during its time. It did a lot of things right, but the backwards comparability and keeping in horrible concepts (checked exceptions, no real properties, interfaces) has kept it from really growing as a language. I think the future of the JVM won't include as much Java.
A clean version of Java? More like a write-once language. Back in the the 80s when it was C (procedural) and LISP (functional) were the main languages. LISP lost due to its tendency to produce non-maintainable code bases that multiple programmers had a hard time working on together. Have fun learning that lesson again. Once was enough for me...