i was very worried about this too. i use cairo for the bottom of my desktop, but i use awn up top for sensors and window navigating (imagine that!)
webupd8 has helped us out and pretty much saved the day here.
here's a link:
i still plan on using mint 13 for a long time. however, i was trying 14 out and noticed this page when i had the same problems as you.
you wont get the bandwidth applet and a couple others might be broken (if i remember right, the stupid plus sign is still there) but it's better than a panel imho.
best of luck and i hope i helped....be sure to thank the fellas at webupd8. they really saved the day here.