I'm having a problem comparing your two versions. Your new version is wider than than the old version giving the illusion that there is more negative space, which I think the old version desperately needed anyways.
However, just looking at the new version by itself, there is no sense of hierarchy of what's important on the page. Atleast with the older version you can tell which column was meant to be the focus.
I would take use the old version's layout but with the new version's wider width. The best of both worlds.