Just a little 63-track best of compilation to while away the hours until Christmas... with the proviso that you'll be required to fork out around 43 quid if you want the whole bunch. Otherwise, dabble in each format (CD, vinyl and cassette) in relation to your wealth: they all come with an excellent track-listing.
Costello's arranged the whole thing in what he calls "sections" and, sure enough, one can pick up a slight thread of a story on, just to give you one example, the "Almost Blue" / "Riot Act" / "Poisoned Rose" / "I Want You" progression from soppy crush to warped hysteria.
Also, the political map of UK decay that starts with a seethe on "Oliver's Army" and winds up gasping for solace on "Shipbuilding" is absolutely spot-on from a story-telling angle. Things going from bad to worse, sort of thing.
In and around these observed plot structures are rootless classics like "Man Out Of Time," "New Amsterdam" and "Motel Matches" and, well, just about everything he's ever recorded really. As someone who once attempted to make an EC best of tape and ended up just taping all the records, I can sympathise with Costello being reluctant to leave anything off. The CD probably gives you the best deal: 49 tracks stretched over two discs.
As a gesture it's in the best traditions of Costello folklore. Utterly useless and totally essential at the same time. Real Costello fans will have the lot, of course. But it's nice to find out exactly which tracks Elvis Costello thinks defines his career in the decade 1976-86 and, of course, it's nice to see him having another pop at that Presley bloke in the title.