Not sure if this helps but you can search from the http bar, to go back, drag your finger sideways across the magic mouse or two fingers on the track pad.
Let's say you have a tab open on the page www.macs_are_cool.com. Click on the address window (where you see www.macs_are_cool.com) and it should highlight everything. Now type "I love big hats" and hit return. You should see the search results. Now click on any link you see, the browser should go to that page. Now if that is not what you want, drag your finger sideways across the magic mouse (or two fingers on the trackpad) and you will be right back at the search page showing your results.
If your magic mouse or track pad doesn't work this way, go into system preferences and adjust the settigns.
I have two computers with 10.8.2 where Safari does exactly this - I have not found a solution yet. The work-around I use is to right click and select Open Link in New Window.
If I discover a Safari setting that works without this trick I shall certainly post back here.
What I have tried:
try every possible setting in Safari / Preferences / Tabs