As the recent reissue of This Year's Model proved, no one can turn vitriol into art better than Elvis Costello. This fact is reconfirmed by Momofuku — a name the singer's latest album shares with a Manhattan restaurant and that, fittingly, resembles an excellent English-language expletive. "In the not very distant future / When everything will be free / There won't be any cute secrets / Let alone any novelty," Costello spit-croons on the opener, "No Hiding Place," as low-burn rocker that indicts Internet culture amid "na-na-nas" and "woo-oos."
Among his sharpest sets in years, Momofuku was first released on double-disc vinyl (it's now available on CD and MP3), one of many signs of Costello's old-school allegiance; see also "Flutter & Wow," abruised ballad that likens the singer's lovesickness to the irregular motion of a turntable motor. But dude's not living strictly in the past. In addition to veteran Costello bandmates Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas, young singer-songwriters Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) and Johnathan Rice add sparks to Momofuku. Lewis' knowing, slightly jaded character studies owe plenty to Costello, whose collaborative imaginativeness proves he's no average curmudgeon. Long may he sneer.