Best of 2004: #8 -- Elvis Costello & The Imposters The Delivery Man
Though there are many ways to distinguish among the only two Elvii that matter (with apologies to Peacock, Grbac, and Stojko), the easiest is by comparing their fluctuations. Presley is best known for his fluctuations in weight, and while Costello obviously hasn't been adhering to a low carb regimen of late, his most identifiable fluctuations are in mood. The Delivery Man, his best album in nearly 20 years, is a perfect encapsulation of Costello's many moods.
Here we find Angry Elvis ("Button My Lip"), Yearning Elvis ("Country Darkness"), Manic Elvis ("Bedlam"), Reverent Elvis (the title track), Mischevious Elvis ("Monkey to Man"), and Penitent Elvis ("The Judgement"). And as if that weren't enough, there are a handful of duets with rodeo sweethearts Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris, the highlight of which is the second pairing with Harris ("Heart Shaped Bruise") which sounds like Burt Bacharach gone country. From start to finish, ol' Nerdlinger really delivers with this album.