Still, I'm glad they resurrected the TMP theme rather than go with McCarthy's own rejected submission.
Except that led some ill-informed people back in the day to complain about ST V recycling the TNG theme.
I rather like McCarthy's rejected theme, particularly in that it incorporates his Picard theme, which is very nice.
People complained out of ignorance? About Star Trek? C'mon, you're putting me on. (Guilty as charged on some fronts, of course... Just don't tell the Internet I admitted it.)
As to the alternate theme, I just got home and am giving it the fairest shake I can. Haven't listened to it in years. My thoughts: it is a very strident march. The string portion (is that Picard's theme?) is indeed actually better than I remember. I won't go so far as to say it overall sounds like a parody but I will say that it reminds me of The Last Starfighter and other mid-80s genre orchestrations.
Ultimately, to me it feels like it tries really hard whereas Goldsmith's comes across as more effortlessly melodic and natural with the melody and rhythm having a more, as the pretentious would say, organic interplay whereas the brass portions of McCarthy's composition are halting and don't flow in a way I find appealing.
Then again, I've heard Goldsmith's so many times (and, truth told, at times even been utterly sick of it) that not only would I need to listen to the McCarthy tune a couple dozen times to shake my preconceived notions completely out of mind but I'd have to forget Goldsmith's and learn it over again fresh. If only NOMAD were here to wipe my mind clean... Jeez, I might even finally learn Swahili.