Robbie Fulks’s misleadingly titled new album, The Very Best of Robbie Fulks (due in January on Bloodshot), is in fact a decade-spanning collection of oddities and rarities meant to tide fans over as Chicago’s best singer-songwriter-satirist–who parted ways with Geffen this year–works out new material and decides how to release it. But like most of his output, it’s a masterful mix of sincerity and withering humor, of genre hopping and genre-transcending hooks, and it beats most proper albums by his “peers” by a country mile. Fulks takes a spot-on jab at rockabilly revivalists and “our brothers in neoswing” (“Roots Rock Weirdoes”), gets giddy with Kelly Willis on a honky-tonk feuding song (“Parallel Bars”), constructs cinematic atmospherics (“Gravid and Tense”), strums trad bluegrass (“Hamilton County Breakdown,” from his days in Special Consensus), injects a weepy heartbreaker (“I Just Want to Meet the Man”) with characteristic pervertedness (“I just want to know the stranger who / Has put his poison inside of you”), and flatters Susanna Hoffs by imitation (“That Bangle Girl”). No one is safe from his wicked wit: he leaps into the snake pit with “White Man’s Bourbon,” an ironically intended tasteless romp about liberating the libido of an African woman with booze (“Well, don’t stand there strutting like a dumb giraffe / Don’t pull out your cock unless you want her to laugh / Don’t say a word, just hand her a carafe / Of the sweet corn liquor on your belt”), and then, in his tongue-in-cheek liner notes, takes a poke at Bloodshot’s hyperbolic anti-Nashville stance, claiming the tune was taken from the compilation “Nashville, We Will Slice Your Putrid Cunt to Ribbons: Insurgent Country Vol. 6.” On an ordinary night, I’d recommend this show–which also features the Waco Brothers and Anna Fermin’s Trigger Gospel–without hesitation, but since it’s New Year’s Eve, admission is a whopping $99 at the door, $80 if you buy a ticket by December 24. For that you get an open bar, a champagne toast, “party favors,” and Mexican food–which rarely makes a graceful departure from the body even when its path isn’t lubricated by a barrel of hooch. Friday, December 31, 9 PM, FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn; 708-788-2118. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jim Herrington.