The best LCD monitors for accurate color rendition are currently made using S-IPS technology. This is well illustrated by this demonstration (no need to understand German, just watch). X-bit's Guide does an excellent job of explaining the differences between monitor technologies. For a quick summary choose the Conclusion link at their web site. Unfortunately most manufacturers don't mention whether or not they are S-IPS in their literature. To determine the technology used in your particular monitor visit flatpanelshd and enter the type of monitor. For example, enter "Dell" and all Dell monitors are listed, or "S-IPS" for all S-IPS monitors. For further information and reviews visit Prad or TFT Central.
Monitors can be connected via an analog or digital (DVI-D) connection. Although an analog connection will yield excellent results, a digital connection is preferred. For accurate calibration use a hardware calibration device. A luminance setting of 120 cd/m2 is recommended for LCD monitors. If your prints, after calibration, are too dark this indicates that the monitor is too bright causing you to excessively lower image brightness during post processing. Values of 100-110 cd/m2 may be appropriate in this case.
Achieving a reduced luminance level can be problematic. If you are unable to sufficiently reduce monitor brightness then reduce individual RGB components. For example, set all three RGB controls on your monitor to 85% and calibrate from this basis. After calibration the RGB settings will have the same relative values but biased to a lower setting. This effectively reduces screen brightness to a level that permits the brightness control to properly function. Some models, such as the Apple Cinema, have no RGB adjustment. In this case increase ambient lighting. This will cause the monitor to appear dimmer, and corresponding prints to be lighter.