The history of unusual or unlikely musical pairings in popular music is a bloody one, littered with corpses and very few survivors, let alone successors.

For every Aerosmith and Run DMC, Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue or David Byrne and St Vincent happily sitting in a playlist, there's a Tom Waits and William S. Burroughs, Frank Sinatra and Bono, Elton John and Tupac Shakur or Bing Crosbie and David Bowie stashed in a cupboard.

Given the unfair odds, what chance the union between British new wave and song writing royalty Elvis Costello and edgy U.S. hip-hop band The Roots for joint release Wise Up Ghost?

Both sets of artists have form in working on challenging projects (Costello's The Juliet Letters and The Root's Phrenology both brilliant examples), and in theory the matching of such highly inventive and experienced musical minds could produce an incredible and memorable piece of work. Perhaps even a masterpiece that sets a new precedent for cross-genre collaborations.

On this 2013 project, familiar styles, components and motifs are still present; the singer's cool lyrical mastery and inimitable vocals and the band's recognisable arrangements and production values run throughout (The Roots and ?uestlove engineer Steven Mandel oversaw the album) - some of the tracks have even been stitched together from back catalogue lyrics and samples.

When Costello's gravelly voice, punky ska guitar stabs, loose Amen drumming pattern and domineering bassline all meet on opening track 'Walk Us Uptown', the result is a classy louche ska number straight out of a Tim Armstrong project.

'Sugar Won't Work' and 'Refuse To Be Saved' are less remarkable, tight instrumentation saving the day over sporadically catchy melodies and choruses before a congress of loose beats, jazz keys, brass bursts and a lower, darker vocal delivery hit the spot on fourth track 'Wake Me Up'.

This is more the stuff of late-night studio jams; tipped trilbys, half-drunk bourbons and long drawn-out bass and drum grooves - perhaps more in line with Blue Note, the legendary US label on which the record is released, home to the music of giants of jazz Sidney Bechet, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock as well as new talents Gregory Porter and Jose James.

There are no appearances from MCs Black Thought (who reportedly declined to take part in the project) and ?uestlove on the album, though the latter does contribute heavily to the overall orchestration on Wise Up Ghost, percussion throughout being way richer for it.

The Roots have been making good, solid hip-hop infused with jazz, funk and soul sensibilities for close to three decades now, though the groups powerful lyrics and flow have outshone the music on plenty of occasion. So in the absence of any significant vocal involvement from the two remaining members, particularly on mid-album tracks like 'Stick Out Your Tongue', 'Come The Meantimes' and '(She Might Be A) Grenade', there's a feeling of imbalance or of disproportion between the two artists.

'Cinco Minutos Con Vos', featuring the only guest vocalist on the album - Mexican-American singer La Marisoul - is a sweet soulful affair and one of the stronger tracks, along with the brooding, edgy and epic title track 'Wise Up Ghost'.

As manifested in the the (admittedly powerful) closing ballad 'If I Could Believe' demonstrates, this recording is another powerful exercise in song writing for Elvis Costello to add to his pile with the odd nod to both his and The Roots' potential capacity to produce incredible and adventurous music.

The merit of Wise Up Ghost lies more in the very coming together of these artists, and not the product, despite a handful of sweet tracks that bring out the funk. On the playlist for a bit then into the cupboard with you.