other singers like Patricia Barber.....

trying to find other female singers with similar style.
i've listened to Diana Krall, Cassandra Wilson, Jane Monheit, & Karrin Allyson. Karrin Allyson was good but the others were either too much fluff or too different.
Barber seems to be dark with an edge. i'm not a big fan of "happy" music which seemed to be Krall & Monheit.
Try Rachelle Ferrell, perhaps still to happy for you but may be dark enough, she has more of soul then Diana Krall.
Try Dave's True Story. It is not precisely like Barber, but it is very, very good female vocals. Dave's True Story plays/sings very dark comedic music that is quite entertaining. Chesky records them.

see www.davestruestory.com

Flora Purim, Cesaria Evora both from Brazil. Don't pay attention to Portugese if you don't understand. Just simply listen to their voices and music. Flora Purim sings English in "Light as a Feather" album of Chick Corea. You should definitely get her brilliant work with Dizzy Gillaspie "Rhythmstick".
If you want to hear a realy different female vocal in terms of theme and style try Sally Oldfield(UK). You should seek to find her participating in albums of Mike Oldfield, Pierre Moerlene or Pekka Pohjola.
Meridith Monk is on the highest sophistication level but you can give her a try -- maybe you'll "swallow it" maybe not.
These are all excellent and creditable responses, but for my money, there's no one who's truly *like* Patricia Barber. She's one of a kind, and may we have her around for many more decades to come.
Holly Cole. She has Jane Monheit's technical skills with Patricia Barber's dark, powerful interpretation. Good stuff. Start with Temptation (all Tom Waits covers).
If you want to explore an unknown novelty, bordering on off topic, try Bet Williams at http://www.epiphanyrecords.com/. She's more a kind of arty singer songwriter than jazz/torch song singer, and I can't vouch for the recording quality, but you could check out some mp3s at the site. I would tend towards "Epiphany Project" (Bet Williams & John Hodian) than the album with "Ooh La La". That latter song is not my cup of tea. Try "Lockerbie" and "Long Gray Line".
I agree with the others who mentioned "Dave's True Story." That is one hell of a combo. And to make it better, they are a little twisted (e.g., the title of one CD is "Sex Without Bodies").
Barber is in her own space and time. Not sure what solar system that would be in,definatly not ours. My freinds always like it when I turn them on to something new. The responce I get when playing Barber for someone for the first time is almost always priceless. I wish she would get some radio airtime.
I caught her live at The Regattabar in Harvard Square last fall, and can agree that she's REALLY in another inner space altogether lately. Fortunately her bandmates have a glimpse, but stay well-rooted for the ride. Iher response to my attempt at banter re her being an audiophool fave after her first set was met with a too-cool "Yeah, I heard."
Patricia Barber is just a modern day Bohemian, as you note Subaruguru, just way too cool man, yeah cool.
I recently bought "Verse", based upon favorable opinions on this site, and hated it, but like others, loved Holly Cole.

If you don't like it, send it to me! Perhaps I have something I can trade for it.
Hello--I play bass with Patricia and thought I'd say hi.I'm assebling my first (kindof) audiophile system. I think Auidiogon is way cool----I've been able to sell some of my ancient stuff and but some pretty cool stuff here. Patty is actually a little less weird and austere than she seems. She's actually extremely she and a little( well maybe more than a little) socially awkward. We've played together for about 23 years.
please excuse my spelling----I'm pretty tired and spaced-----I'm usually a little more literate (well maybe not, but at least I check my spelling!)

What is the new system you're assembling? And what do you think of some of the other jazzy/vocal groups (Christine Tobin, Dave's True Story)? I know....might be hard to say without risk of offending your colleagues.