Secret, Profane & Sugarcane entered the UK album charts at number 71, where it spent one week before dropping out of the top 100. It was far more successful in the US, when it charted at number 13 on the Billboard 200.
In the albums before Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, Costello had experimented with various styles of music including jazz, classical and others. For this album, Costello returned to an acoustic band set-up for the first time since 1986'sKing of America album. Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee in three days, Costello's 29th studio album was released on Starbucks' Hear Music label to generally good critical acclaim.
Critics looked upon Secret, Profane & Sugarcane in a generally very favourable way with some exceptions. Reviewing for Rolling Stone, Jody Rosen said that Costello was "in one of his comfort zones" and had made a "tight, uncluttered" album. Bud Scoppa, reviewing the album for Uncut, gave it a four-star rating, saying it was a "rootsy beauty" and "...his most engaging album in a very long time". In a more dismissive review, Pitchfork Media gave the album a 3.8 out of 10, and called the album "yet another entry in Costello's string of gestural albums" .