The open source MP3 encoder "LAME" is now available at version 3.93. This is the last release of the stable codebase (except a major bug crept in).
The next release will contain major code changes which are supposed to deliver better quality and increased speed. We will offer a first beta release of the new code base for testing soon.
If you don't want to participate in the development of LAME (by doing listenig tests with the upcomming beta versions), you should grab the actual stable release and be happy with it for a while as it contains some fixes which affect quality, is a little bit faster and should be able to compile out of the box on more systems.
You can find a broader description of the changes in the release notes at http://sourceforge.net/project/shownotes.php?group_id=290&release_id=122796 and the release is available from http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=290&release_id=122796 together with the the first release of bindings for the LAME library for the Python programming language (py-lame-0.1).
As the version number for the python bindings suggest, there's still some work to do. The weak points of py-lame are the unpolished documentation (it is more a reference than a real programming documentation, but a demo application is included) and the rough way to build and install it.
If you want to give py-lame a try, you _have_ to install lame 3.93, it doesn't work with older versions of lame.
Let's end with the last words of a release engineer: It's well tested and works...