Installing a new kernel can be tricky, especially building custom kernels. A plethora of configuration options are usually available to produce a kernel that is best suited to a particular set of hardware devices and OS functions. For instance, a fancy option I like to make sure is enabled is the Hibernation option, found under Power Management and ACPI Options when configuring the kernel with menuconfig. This allows the machine to be put in hibernation mode.
A set of basic steps in configuring, compiling and installing a new Linux kernel can be found here.