SAY what you like about Elvis Costello, but he isn’t afraid of exploring genres. In fact, he is somewhat exhaustively addicted to musical variety.

In a long and winding career, he has just kept on going, through punk, rock, pop, country, classical, solo balladeer, orchestral, operatic – you name it, Elvis has probably had a go at it.

Nor is he lacking in effort: this is his 11th album in 10 years, and stands as a companion piece to last year’s Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, a country/bluegrass outing produced by T Bone Burnett (who had production duties all those years ago on King Of America). Burnett is on board again here.

The styles are multifarious, the song-writing stronger, as is his voice, although 16 tracks is two or three too many, and the genre-hopping is distracting.

The album jumps from the title opening track, a Costello rock rant pouring bile on the bankers, to Jimmie Standing In The Rain, a 1930s-style song about a down-at-heel music hall performer, given the precise location and date of Doldrum, Rowley Moor, 1937.

Each song is pinpointed in this way, so that You Hung The Moon – a crooning ballad containing a shocking narrative twist – is labelled “A Drawing Room In Pimlico, London – 1919”.

The best songs, those where the writing really gels, are the magnificent, wounded All These Strangers, the boldly puzzling Stations Of The Cross, The Spell That You Cast – a poppy surge, with a typical lyrical twist (“The spell that you cast/Seems to be wearing off fast”), Church Underground and Five Small Words.

More focus, and a sharp edit, would have improved National Ransom, but there are still inspired moments that recall vintage Costello.