There's a reason those progressions are "over-used." The reason is that they are the strongest diatonic chord progressions, in terms of voice leading. The three strongest ( chord progressions are Dominant (descending by fifth) Subdominant (ascending by fifth) , and descending third from a major down to its relative minor (I vi). Examples for each are shown on this node. By strongest, I'm not referring to the Schoenberg/Sadai idea of there being three classes of progressions, Strong(ascending and can be used as much as one likes), Descending(which can be used often, but better used in combinations of three chords which result in a stronger progression((Schoenberg)) and Superstrong progressions which are stepwise either ascending or descending which "may be considered too strong for continuous use"(Schoenberg). Now, this isn't to say one can't grow tired of these progressions, as many musicians do and then reach out to more chromatic alterations based on these progressions. Also, these stock diatonic progressions are a good way to set up a listener for one type of resolution (which may or may not be considered "played out" as some would say) and goes to something entirely different, once a few out of key or chromatic chords are thrown in. One progression might use said chromatic chord to segue into a different progression, in an entirely different key, or the tonality can be altered to place, say, a ii V I progression in a spot where it doesn't quite land on I, but maybe a minor I chord or a dominant I7 (which I'll talk about a little more in a moment), or whatever you like as long as it resolves nicely. The beauty part is that the psychology of music relies almost entirely on what a listener could be expecting, and what a composer might actually give the listener-for example, foregoing one of the normal resolutions to a progression and moving on to something much more interesting and/or creative. Whew.

Classical music and jazz are action-packed with such variants, such as the ii bii I (tritone inversion) and the I IV #IVdim which appears in a few jazz-blues tunes. Once chromaticism is involved, a composer then has options such as "borrowing" chord tonalities from the key's parallel key, such as "borrowing" a major I chord from G major to be used in G minor which is called a Primary Mixture. The trick in chromatic progressions is that the chords are analyzed less by the way they are "spelled" and more in the way they function as guiding a progression to some type of resolution. If you're a listener who's looking for some more unorthodox chord progressions, you'd probably dig John Abercrombie's stuff, very very modern ideas in jazz.