||Canonical Van Vleck perturbation theory is used to transform curvilinear and rectilinear normal coordinate vibrational Hamiltonians of HCN, C2H2, and CO2 to block-diagonal effective Hamiltonians. Accurate energies as high as 11 000 cm-1 above the zero point are reported for all three molecules. In the absence of off-diagonal coupling terms in the effective Hamiltonians, these two coordinate systems yield identical perturbative expansions for the vibrational energies. Only when coupling terms are introduced do differences between the calculated energies in the two representations become apparent. In CO2, where there is pronounced configuration interaction between nearly degenerate states, we find that the perturbative energies obtained from the curvilinear normal coordinate Hamiltonian are converging significantly faster than those obtained in the rectilinear normal coordinate representation.