The Imposters are essentially Costello's most celebrated backing band, The Attractions, with bassist Davey Farragher replacing Bruce Thomas. Despite the dedication "to my wife", the resulting album is a far remove from last year's gooey North, which comes as something of a blessing: Costello is rarely at his best when he's love-struck. He certainly doesn't sound that way here.
Elvis Costello's 21st studio album, The Delivery Man, was intended as a song cycle or a concept album, not that you could ever tell from listening to album. During the prerelease promotion for the album, Costello claimed that he had written a narrative concerning a delivery man in the American South, following him on his journeys and through his relationships with three women of different ages and backgrounds. He also said that he deliberately presented the songs on the album out of narrative order, even taking songs off the record if they revealed too much about either the character or the story.
Over the last 15 years, Elvis Costello has made it increasingly impossible to conceive of his albums in typical pop musicological fashion. Viewing his works as constituent pieces of a recording career, with a traceable trajectory and artistic development from work to work, is fruitless. The myriad trans-genre collaborations and one-off project records he's turned out lately have effectively turned the concept of a typical Elvis Costello album into a metaphysically nonsensical idea.