Being a latter-day Elvis Costello fan is a test of patience. Between rock albums like 2008's solid Momofuku, he releases genre experiments (jazz, country, classical) and unexpected collaborations (Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint, Anne Sofie von Otter) that sometimes work and often don't. But last night's appearance with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon falls into the former category — it's one of Costello's best performances in years.
As part of Fallon's week-long tribute to Bruce Springsteen, Costello and The Roots covered the Boss's "Brilliant Disguise" and "Fire," now with a terrific reggae beat. After he's given us this set, we'll cut Elvis some slack the next time he indulges himself with a string quartet.