In contrast, Elvis Costello stopped breaking new ground a long time ago, most observers would agree.
But when he lives up to his reputation, fans don't seem to mind.
The finest songwriter of the post-punk era broke the longest dry spell of his career this year with When I Was Cruel, hailed as one of his best albums since 1986's King of America.
The disc's chief asset seems to be its resemblance to Costello's output of the late '70s and '80s, when his gift for melody and wordplay rivaled Lennon and McCartney and nearly anyone else you could mention. Comparisons to the Gershwins and Cole Porter were not unknown.
Lovers of that sound won't want to miss his Oct. 13 appearance at the Murat Theatre. Costello's last stop here was largely solo and acoustic, with the help of keyboardist Steve Nieve. The show was warm and well received.
This time, however, he's bringing a full band of Nieve, Pete Thomas on drums and Davey Farragher on bass essentially his classic Attractions lineup with a new bass player and a new name, the Imposters. Few rock ensembles can generate the excitement and finesse that this one can on a good night.
The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $27.50, $35 and $50.