Someone at AlphaMountWorld pointed out this link as another way to process images. It's interesting to try a new thing, and my copy of Elements has the SmartCurve plugin which allows for L.a.b. processing - so I gave it a tryout.
Could I have done as well using RGB or another color space? Most likely.. but this was pretty quick. It definitely pays to try different methods of processing, just as it does trying different cameras before buying; the next one could fit you far better than the current one, and you'll never know for certain without trying.
edit -- I find the Y·Cb·Cr color space to be very similar, and that is one I had used in my early days of digital processing with LViewPro. For quick manipulations I still use 1.D2 of that software, a great feature set for such a tiny package.