There's no indication that CURDATE() no longer works in MySQL 5.1. The
documentation shows it as being a valid function in MySQL 5.1.
The error message says "incorrect syntax near ..." several times. I don't think CURDATE() is the problem -- it's most likely that the error is just occurring near CURDATE().
As far as I know, there hasn't been any DB structural changes since 1.6 was released. So the setup script that comes with 1.6 should work with 1.6.2.
I'm able to run the BE 1.6 script against MySQL 5.1.37 without any errors. So I'm not sure why you're getting an error.
You might want to double check (if you haven't already), and make sure you're running the same script that can be found
If you continue to get errors, I would suggest running the script in chunks to see where the error is occurring exactly.