Generally, when you're on a stable/LTS release of Ubuntu the packages will only be patched for security vulnerabilities and bugs. Very rarely will you see an up-to-date version of any package finding it's way into LTS.
But if you need newer packages on a dedicated server running LTS, you have two options (one safe and one somewhat risky) -
- the safer option is to use backports; you can read up on backports at help.ubuntu.com -- Backports are packages that are updated and tested to work in LTS without any serious problems.
- your other option is to use apt-pinning to bring in newer packages from Ubuntu-current (9.10 as of the time of writing). You can read up on apt-pinning (also) on help.ubuntu.com
Keep in mind that apt-pinning generally requires you to install dependencies from Ubuntu-current, and occasionally the dependencies of those dependencies, etc. Sometimes it's not worth the headache, especially when you're a year and a half behind on packages.