It's taken me a while but I think I have finally found the answer.
I plan on purchasing the NIV/Message parallel bible. The Message is a loose free flow thought for thought style of read. It makes getting through some of the Old Testament stuff a pleasure. However, I think it loses some of the poetic language that we've grown accustomed to in the NKJV, and the NIV. I was perusing some if the parallel Bibles and I think it's the way to go. I love comparing translations. I used to always flip to Psalm 19 to see if I'd like the version. The first 5 verses are really tough to get across in english. The theme is the unspoken proof of God's existence in the universe. Some translations use the word 'speech' repeatedly in a way that is confusing. The HCSB repeats 'speech' because it adheres closely to a literal translation. But I don't like that. The NRSV and the NKJV handles the translation well, but changes the meaning slightly. The Message actually captures the thought perfectly, but uses completely different words.
So...I would recommend getting either the NKJV/Message, NIV/Message, or the HCSB/Message or NRSV/Message parralel Bibles. The NRSV, NKJV, and the Holman are the most readable and accurate translations that I've found. To match them up with the Message would give a rounded out experience. But I'm going NIV/Message most likely because...well...I just enjoy those versions the best. I've spent most of the past couple of years in the NIV and I'm pretty familiar with it. I find that the best translation of Paul's Epistles are found in the NRSV.
Here's a handy link to a nice chart from Zondervan. Check it. Much Love.