I honestly have a hard time learning vocabulary any other way than through my reading and occasional writing. As you've probably noticed, vocabulary lists can be a real bore, and it never clear what words you should start with. Whenever I see an unknown word in my reading I look it up, and if it seems like it might be useful I try to commit it to memory. Sometimes I'll let words slip until I notice them a second time, then I look it up (sometimes it's a drag to take the time to reference a word to find out that it's almost never used, maybe just in that one author). The downside to this is that you end up with a lop-sided vocabulary, not resembling a native language; I can read some orator like Cicero without trouble, but when I read something referring to everyday life I run into lots of words I've never seen before (simple things like foods and household items... Cicero had need to refer to kitchen wares and the market in his speeches). One possible corrective is writing, which forces me to figure out the words to express modern/common notions, and after writing the same word in a few contexts I usually remember it.
Again, I'm not sure this is revolutionary or what you were looking for, but at the least I suggest Latin composition as an aide.
Valde doleo verba nova discens quacumque ratione quam saepe legendo et nonnunquam scribendo. Ut fortasse animadvertisti, subodiosus est novi tabulas verbi scribere consultareque atque ita agens numquam certus sum quae verba praeferenda sint. Quandocumque verbum ignotum lego id consector atque si mihi videtur utile fore, menti commendo. Nonnumquam verba quadam praetereo donec idem etiam invenio. Tum consector sed insulsus est tempus ita degere si verbum admodum rarum est, fortasse semel adhibitum. Huius via defectus est vocabularium fit inpar, haud in modo linguae maternae. Quae cum ita sint, oratores tamquam Ciceronem legere sine molestiâ possum, cum autem litteras aliquas ad vitam quotidianam spectandas legam mihi multùm deest, inassueta in verba offendendo saepe de rebus simplicissimis, ut domi vel mercatûs (Ciceroni rarò necesse erat has in res referre pangendo orationes). Una via fortasse rectior est Latinè scribere, qui mos mihi oportet novas circumlocutiones verbaque invenire in res modernas communicandum apta, atque postquam aliquid verbum hîc et illîc scripsi generaliter eius memini.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute