"off-brands" aren't completely always necessary. I was looking at some tires on TireRack.com and for about the same money after shipping, I could get the likes of Kumho, Dunlop, Yokohama, among others.
Typically though I don't go by brand - I go by how good an individual tire is. Personally if shopping for some affordable all-season tires I'd be considering the Kumho Touring Plus 732
or Kumho Touring A/* 795
. Both seem to be rated pretty well.