Absolutely paint them a cream color in the best quality paint. Don't forget to lightly sand and prime them first. Paint the brick the same color but then put a tea color wash on the brick to mimic natural stone. The warmth will go well with the counter top. New hardware wouldn't hurt either. I have painted cabinets, brick, and tile before and you will love how bright and fresh the room will be.
I like the tea color stain on brick idea. I want to change brick too but hubby likes it and thinks once you try something on it, you are committed to never going back, which is kind of true. I think some trial bricks are a good idea. You can buy a few and experiment with color, washes etc.