There are two traditional printing interfaces in the unix world:
lp (the System V interface) and
lpr (the BSD interface). There are three printing systems available on Linux: the traditional BSD lpr, the newer BSD system LPRng, and CUPS. LPRng and CUPS both provide a BSD-style interface and a System-V-style interface.
Nowadays, CUPS is the de facto standard printing system for unix; it's the default or only system under Mac OS X and most Linux distributions as well as recent versions of Solaris, and it's available as a package on all major BSD distributions. Nonetheless your distribution may provide lpr and LPRng, typically in packages with these names.
CUPS has better support for input and output filters (automatically converting various input format, giving access to printer features such as paper source selection and double-sided printing). If you install an alternative, you're likely to need to tune them quite a bit to get these extra features working. And there's no guarantee that these systems will work better than CUPS anyway. So I'd recommend fixing whatever's broken (given your description, it could be the printer itself!).