You can likely get the power button to work. Let's see if the power button is generating an acpi event. First we'll temporarily stop acpid if it's running
Now let's watch for events
sudo /etc/init.d/acpid stop
Now hit the power button, you might have to hold it for a second, but not too long, or you'll get a BIOS poweroff. Does anything show up?
sudo cat /proc/acpi/events
If not, do you have the "button" module loaded?
If not, try loading it
lsmod | grep button
Does the power button generate an event now?
If that still doesn't work, see if you've got thinkpad_acpi loaded
if not, load it and check to see if an event is generated
lsmod | grep thinkpad_acpi
Once you manage to get an event see if acpid will respond to it by shutting down.
sudo modprobe thikpad_acpi
To get thinkpad_acpi to load on boot
sudo /etc/init.d/acpid start
Acpid should be loading "button" on boot. If it is not, your /etc/default/acpid should look something like this
sudo echo thikpad_acpi >> /etc/modules
OPTIONS="-d -c /etc/acpi/events"
# Specify modules to load on acpid's startup
# MODULES may be uncommented to load "none", contain the string "all"
# to load all acpi related modules or simply a space seperated list
# of modules to be probed.
MODULES="battery ac processor button fan thermal video"
# using all allows us to drop extra modules in drivers/acpi and have them
# be autoloaded.