More and more, Elvis "The Imposter" Costello's flair for curt provocation seems in conflict with his ongoing love of songwriting craft. No doubt this is a good single, smart and trenchant — but it's also hedged. The cold-war setting of the A-side dissipates when Costello forsakes the homely details of his native Europe for wayward stabs at the American election: he's at ease exposing the political repercussions in mundane acts rather than chasing after the grand statement. The song's sad sway and graceful trumpet — part dirge, part national anthem — carry him along nonetheless. The B-side's nod to Richard Thompson (a songwriter in whom tradition coexists with acuity) is a laudable gesture and a memento of Costello's acoustic tour, but Linda Thompson's rippling, bottomless vocal on the original shames Costello both as small-town complainer and world-class singer.