I couldn't find anything suitable in my price range, so I got an Epson Perfection V37.
While it doesn't have a flush scan bed, the design of the enclosure is much better than that of my old scanner, so I don't need to bend covers as much anymore. The lid can open more that 180°, so it's out of the way when scanning bigger objects. Good thinking, Epson!
It uses a CCD sensor, so it has great depth of field, which makes it less problematic if there is a little bit of a bend.
Colors are very accurate and profiles are embedded. I'm also having no issues with clipping and overexposure with this one. Gradients are smooth. Quite an improvement over my twelve year old HP.
There is no warm up time, because it uses an LED light source. Very nice.
The Epson scan software is easy to use and has a professional mode that puts me in control about all parameters I care about.
I selected this device rather carefully, but I was still positively surprised about the quality of the scans. I did feel that my old scanner left some things to be desired, but my scans were still quite good compared to most of the images on ecover.to or allcdcovers.
This will make creating high quality images a lot easier for me. If you're looking for a new scanner, I cannot recommend this model enough.
Price wasn't bad either. You can get these from €55 new if you shop around a bit. You may also be able to score one of its predecessors (V30, V33) used for very little money.
Edit: It does have one weakness: Scans of silver discs don't look any good. Luckily I can live with that.