ADO supposedly works great:
my $db_file = 'd:\path\to\database.mdb';
my $db_user = 'username';
my $db_passwd = 'pasword';
my $dbh = DBI->connect(
) or die $DBI::errstr;
It bypasses ODBC which ends up connecting to the Jet Engine anyway. It also saves you from creating ODBC DSNs in the Control Panel. (yeah, I suppose you could use DSN-less ODBC connection, but people don't seem to do that for some reason.)
Update: oops, this was supposed to be a reply to the OP.