Yeah, I really saw Curse as the natural next step for Monkey Island. Especially in regards to the ending that even the developers said wasn't the best idea in retrospect. I certainly understood that there were a number of ways you could interpret MI2's ending, but I think that Curse did a marvelous job at handling it.
The art style in Curse was also some of the best I've ever seen in the series, so I'll agree with you there. I say some, because if you've ever seen their concept artwork, that stuff is just awesome to look at. But gamewise, I'd have to say it was definitely the best looking of the games. It also gave us Guybrush's trademark voice, and I honestly can't see him sounding any differently.