The Captain & the Kid reached No. 6 in the UK, a considerable improvement over the performance of John's preceding Peachtree Road in 2004, which peaked at No. 21. It reached No. 18 in the US, before quickly falling off the charts. At concerts in early 2007, John made clear his dissatisfaction with Interscope's promotion for the album, having threatened to terminate his contract with the label.
Interscope Records announced that there would be no physical single released from this album as the emphasis is on presenting the album as a body of work. However, a radio single would be released in "The Bridge". The album's booklet has photos of John and Taupin all throughout their career, and in the lyrics section, two songs are included, "Across the River Thames" and "12", which do not appear on the music album. "Across the River Thames" was available as a free download to anyone inserting the CD into their computer. This is the first album created by John and Taupin to have them both together on the cover. This was the last studio album to feature Guy Babylon on keyboards; he died in 2009 and was replaced by Kim Bullard. This was also Bob Birch's last appearance on any of John's solo studio albums before his own death in August 2012 (Birch last appeared on the Gnomeo and Juliet soundtrack).
Producer Matt Still noted during an interview that in "Just Like Noah's Ark", Elton's black and white spaniel dog Arthur "barked in the middle of [the recording], because John Mahon was playing a cowbell, and the cowbell freaked him out. So he ran over to John and started barking at him right in the middle of a take. It's funny, just randomly he happened to hit the beats and he barked in time. So I recorded it and we actually kept him in there."
The sampled "woof-bells" can be heard in place of the cowbell on the track.