rename util is not very "standard". Each distro ships with a different
rename tool. For instance, here on Gentoo,
rename is from
sys-apps/util-linux package and does not support regex.
Hamish Downer suggested
mmv, it seems useful, specially for use inside scripts.
On the other hand, for the general case, you might want renameutils. It has
qcp commands, which will open a text editor of your choice (my preference: Vim) and allow you to edit the destination filenames there. After saving and closing the editor,
qcp will do all the renaming.
qmv are smart enough to rename files in correct order and also to detect circular renames, and will automatically make a temporary file if needed.