On the last Mac Power Users Episode I complained about the default behavior of the VIP feature in Mail.app. I was looking forward to using VIP as a way to organize my inbox and limit notifications. However, I was disappointed that your VIP mailbox would show ALL messages from a VIP sender, not just new messages. The result, was thousands of outdated messages in my VIP mailbox, defeating the purpose.
What I wanted, was a way to see just new messages from VIPs and prioritize my inbox. Lots of people responded to my complaint suggesting I create a smart mailbox with the VIP criteria, but that seemed to be a kludgy workaround and not at all how this feature should work. Listener John B. to the rescue! Within a few hours of the show posting, he wrote in with the solution.
You have to click on the VIP mailbox then choose View > Sort By > Inbox Only. This will filter out any messages that are not in your inbox or have already been archived or filtered into other folders. I have no idea why this isn't the default behavior, but it's an easy fix!