I went for branding with one keyword included. It made the name of the site both memorable, and gave me a little "boost" for the presence of the keyword. Think "WidgetMeister.com" where the site is about widgets. It's that sort of domain name. It's short, sweet, and to the point, and just unusual enough (with the "Meister" instead of, say, "WidgetWorld" or "WidgetWeb") that it will stick out a bit more in people's minds.
If I could get widgets.com, I would, but barring that, I've managed to rank number one, or at least on page 1, for around 200+ searches with the word "widget" in it, based on the page title, URL, and, of course, contents.
Personally, I go for having hundreds of searches bring me up on page 1 for "blue widgets" and "red widgets" than having me come up on page 3 for "widgets."
Plus, at this point, there are quite a lot of searches specifically for "widgetmeister" which I think shows that the brand has "taken." If that makes any sense. :-) Anyway, that's worked pretty well for me.
For my next site, I'm actually considering a bizarre, pronounceable, not-a-real-word for the domain name to see how that works brandability wise. I think there are more aspects to ranking than just the domain name, and with so many buy-online-phentermine-widgets-poker-naked-chicks.com domains out there, the domain name has got to be at least somewhat devalued, or on the way there.
[edit to say actually none of my sites contain the word "Meister." That was just an example of a kind of unusual word coupled with a keyword. ]