the problem you seem to be describing is because of lack of certain package that banshee depends. (taking a guess here)...
I had a similar problem, untill I've installed this:
podsleuth 0.6.4-1~hardy1 Tool to discover detailed information about Apple iPods
Package name is : podsleuth
I run Ubuntu 8.04 LTS which is pretty stable. If you are considering Ubuntu I recommend their LTS editions, not the bleeding edge unless you need drivers for some part of your system (i.e. can't see hdds because sata controller is not supported but it is in higher version, etc).
Good luck!! hope this helps...
p.s. write back if you are successful.
As far Banshee is concerned it is in my opinion the best Music Manager / Player for Linux. I've tried Amarok but it seemed so crowded. I want a playlist, start, stop and quit sometimes, don't want to see anything like Context Navigator, XYZ Browser, Sigma-Theta amp, just simply none. simple is best. Banshee is not perfect but certainly the easiest to use, in my opinion.