If I had up to $500 to spend on a compact right now, I'd take the Samsung EX1/TL500 (same camera, different names in Europe and America, just like the Rebels, sometime I'd like explanations on this kind of nonsense).
It does not zoom much (only 24-72 mm equivalent ; 24mm is very wide, you could appreciate that) but it has a wide aperture on the whole range (1.8-2.4), which means it is built for low light conditions - and thus perfect for cons. With the wide aperture, you don't have to push ISO as high as on other cameras, which means you'll get cleaner, more contrasted images.
It is an "expert" camera (like most P&S in this price range), which means you can have total control of the camera if you need to do something specific with it (but there still are automatic modes, don't worry). It's a bit bigger than your average P&S, but still fits in a (large) pocket.