ELVIS COSTELLO North ( Deutsche Gramophone/Universal ) Rating: NN
Certainly, Elvis Costello deals with many of the same insecurities many artists face when in a relationship with a performing peer, yet trying to out-schlock his fiancée, Diana Krall, seems like the wrong way to her heart. Taking an anything-you-can-do-I-an-do-blander approach to the string-burdened North, a sullen-sounding Costello mopes through a mawkish ballad song cycle that moves from the darkness at the end of a relationship toward the hopeful light of a new romance. It's actually even sappier than it sounds. Save your cash for the boldly acerbic breakup album.