I use Photomatix, but I use it strictly just to blend the photos together. Most of the post-processing is done with Photoshop CS6 and Nik Color Effex. I figured out that if I spent too much time in Photomatix then my photos ended up looking too fake.
Yes, I use Photomatix as well and I know what you mean. If you edit too much with it you get those bothersome halos around everything. I'm still working with CS5, but I'll have to take a look at the Nik programs too. I've heard nothing but good things about them.