To answer part of your question, the Monero devs recommend that you stick to tagged releases. So compiling from the head master branch is never recommended unless you are testing or really know what you are doing.
However, you've missed a third option that really is the best of both worlds when it comes to being both paranoid and wanting stability. Namely: compile from source from the latest tagged release.
Doing so is as simple as compiling from the head master, with one extra step. After you get the source and change to that directory
$ git clone https://github.com/monero-project/bitmonero
$ cd bitmonero
you can choose to switch to a tagged release
$ git checkout tags/<tag_name>
For example, if you wanted to switch to v0.9.4, you would do
$ git checkout tags/v0.9.4
If you aren't sure the latest tagged release, you can view all releases with
$ git tag -l
For more information about checking out tagged releases, check here: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/791959/download-a-specific-tag-with-git