After reading some of the comments I thought I might add a few from my experience.
At this point the only thing you can really do with a "raw" image is convert it without modification using Canon's Imagebrowser and the associated Raw Converter. Modifications in RAW converter seem pretty weak, although so far white balance has been spot on with the camera so the default looks really good. This part of the Canon RAW converter may work OK. The RAW converter is very weak, and I found the noise reduction very poor.
There is no support for the camera in DPP, and I don't think Canon intends to put it there, so until we see ACR supporting the files, there are not many answers to the basic question of just how useful is the RAW capture.
So basically when you are done, the visual difference between the converted RAW and the in camera jpeg is pretty insignificant. One is a tiff, but I can't really even end up with what I think is a true 16bit file even though that is an option in the RAW converter (see earlier in this thread).
I don't think this is where we'll end up with the camera however. I do think a good RAW converter may help with camera noise because it can work while de-mosaicing the image. Having the full power of a good RAW converter like ACR or Lightroom may be significant. But as mentioned by one poster, most of the power in using a RAW image isn't about noise.
Right now I"m working with a few images and using noiseware on the resulting TIFF files with some decent success. Granted not something I would like to do everyday, but my personal view of the camera is it's better to have something like a G9 to get a shot than to not get the shot at all. It is amazing how many times you can grab an interesting shot in just day to day activities ... times you would never bother having your DSLR.