It was just announced that Microsoft will release a new product called Microsoft Search Server 2008, read the announcement on the Microsoft Enterprise Search Blog. There will be two flavours available, the Express and the full version. The Express version is free (!) and supports all functionality except that it is limited to a single-server installation.
The focus for this product is that is should be easy to get started, but it still has all the functionality you want to have.
To see a 100-level walkthrough of the features of Microsoft Search Server Express you can click here.
There is a Release Candidate available for download for Microsoft Search Server Express, but you will have to wait for the full product. But as the featureset is almost identical you can easily evaluate the full product using the Express version.