Thanks xenopeek. I'm not really talking about updating individual packages so much as pulling the entire Gnome point release (Gnome 3.6.1, released in October, or Gnome 3.6.2, released in November). I understand the manpower issues and that people are working on getting the next release ready. I just think it's unfortunate that we're perpetually using the "dot-zero" release of Gnome (as a platform). While once in a while a specific fix for a particularly egregious bug *might* get backported, there are a lot of stability enhancements and bug fixes that go into the newer point releases of Gnome, that are never seen in Mint or Ubuntu. It's like we jump from one release with new features and no bug fixes, to the next release with new features and no bug fixes without the benefit of the feature stabilization releases in between.
On the one hand if Gnome developers are being responsible and only making bug fixes and not changing APIs, etc. it should be straightforward (although obviously still requiring manpower and compute power) to rebuild the newer point releases. On the other hand, maybe that's an optimistic assessment. Plus I don't know if Mint adds lots of customizations/patches to the Gnome codebase which might require investigation to ensure they still apply properly.
Or, maybe the real problem is that Ubuntu doesn't do this and Mint is using Ubuntu for its upstream packaging?