The reason your mini (micro?) USB charges and doesn't transfer data could be because it it a charge only cable and if you look in the USB-A end (large end) you may find it only has 2 contacts instead of 4.
As far as I know, any micro USB should work. I use cables from Moto, LG, Samsung, HP (touchpad), and generic at home and all work fine. A lot of the generic ones do die, or develop a defect where they charge only from a particular angle.
When I need a new cable, I hit up monoprice.com for some of the highest quality generic USB cables I have ever used, they have good cables for everything, they are cheap too (lots of places like big box stores re-brand the Monoprice cables and charge WAY more)
your favorite auction site is also a good place to look. I check the "used" box when searching for cell phone accessories to find cables and wall worts people no longer need, that usually still work great.