DO NOT FORMAT!!!!
Before taking this step, I concur in getting a card reader and then seeing if any of a number of recovery software programs will find the images.
Once you format the card, the chances of recovery go down, so only do this if the above mentioned steps do not work.
I have been successful in recovering images of a corrupted CF card with Rescue Pro in the past, but there are many equivalent programs available out there.
And (would of, could of, should of), in the future, I'd copy and paste the images from the card to the computer using a card reader. Once I verified the images were on the computer, then, and only then, would I delete the images from the card. This is a belt and suspenders approach but it is easy to copy the files again if they are still easily available on the card.