Your grandparents remember Elvis Costello as that lean, sneering figure hopped up on amphetamines and fronting a band as vicious as any that punk produced. Jerks at the record shop talk of a flabby, fangless bourgeois who hasnt made an essential record since King of America. And music-rag hacks dismiss him as that promiscuous collaborator whos ashamed that rock is insufficiently highbrow. This all misses the singular thing hes become: the old reliable. Like David Letterman, this one-time angry young man is now a rock-steady pro, unlikely to shock but incapable of sucking. Sure, its been a while since he cut a masterpiece, but its been almost as long since he cut a dud, and his last two rock (well, rock-ish) discs boasted real fire and soul. Live, hes at his best, sweating through two-hour shows with his crackerjack band, the Imposters, rearranging the classics you expect and lighting fires under the new stuff. Hes as generous as Springsteen and just as much a ham. Enough bitching about what he was or what he should be celebrate the man for what he damn well is.