Robust statistical validation of peptide identifications obtained by tandem mass spectrometry and sequence database searching is an important task in shotgun proteomics. PeptideProphet is a commonly used computational tool that computes confidence measures for peptide identifications. In this paper, we investigate several limitations of the PeptideProphet modeling approach, including the use of fixed coefficients in computing the discriminant search score and selection of the top scoring peptide assignment per spectrum only. To address these limitations, we describe an adaptive method in which a new discriminant function is learned from the data in an iterative fashion. We extend the modeling framework to go beyond the top scoring peptide assignment per spectrum. We also investigate the effect of clustering the spectra according to their spectrum quality score followed by cluster-specific mixture modeling. The analysis is carried out using data acquired from a mixture of purified proteins on four different types of mass spectrometers, as well as using a complex human serum data set. A special emphasis is placed on the analysis of data generated on high mass accuracy instruments.