For me it highlighted some of the history of the origins of Neil’s recorded work vs. the personnel we got to see touring it because that’s a part of what we’re talking about where Time On Earth is concerned. The musicians who toured that album were Crowded House, that makes it a chapter in the Crowded House career for me regardless of exactly who recorded what on the album, the percentage of Crowded House members on any given song or the number of songs they performed on.
Post-Crowded House Mark 1 the cast of musicians who perform on virtually everything Neil has done have rarely been the same ones who perform the songs live on the resultant tour. It’s especially true of the rhythm section. Have a look -
Try Whistling This featured several drummers. Sebastian Steinberg played bass on the bulk of the album, but not on any of the tour. Robert Moore played on bass in the touring band - he's only on one of the album tracks.
Similarly, One Nil wasn’t recorded with Sebastian Steinberg and Scott McPherson (or Shon Sullivan). JJ Johnson, Jim Keltner (who had a birthday yesterday) and Wendy Melvoin played drums.
Neil and Wendy shared bass duties - neither of them played bass or drums on the tour.
Everyone is Here was initially recorded with Ross Burge and Bones Hillman backing the Finn Brothers on drums and bass, not the Stacey brothers and Tim Smith.
Alana Skyring was recruited for Pajama Club for drumming duties to free up Neil to sing and play guitar on the tour dates, she didn’t drum on the album.
The Dizzy Heights touring band were formed shortly before the tour and had no involvement in the recording of the album that I’m aware of.
So focusing on the Time On Earth album - Joey Waronker, Ethan Johns and Rikki Gooch on drums for the bulk of the record. In that respect Time On Earth is entirely consistent with how Neil has operated after Crowded House broke up: record the songs with collaborators, focus on how it will be toured and who the musicians will be on that tour - essentially how it’s ultimately presented to the public - afterwards.
So the big exception is that Nick Seymour played bass on the recordings AND the tour and he was a long-term Crowded House bandmate. Neil and Nick on stage touring a record with some songs inspired by Paul’s passing was always going to evoke Crowded House, so Time On Earth’s identity as a Crowded House album has always made complete sense to me. Plus you just know if Neil did tour those songs solo with Nick on bass with some Crowded House songs in the set every night, there'd be fans questioning why he couldn't just get Mark Hart and Peter Jones back on board and tour as Crowded House - there was no winning there.
I saw Neil unveil many of those Tine On Earth songs for the first time at Largo in late 2006 before we were aware he’d decided to reform Crowded House, assuming it was a preview of a third solo album. But as soon as he brought Mark Hart back on board and recruited Matt Sherrod as a member of Crowded House, Time On Earth was a Crowded House album.
I respect that for some Time On Earth’s identity as a Crowded House is a sticking point and it’s objectionable because all of the band members didn’t play of all of the tracks, but start reading your liner notes because the Crowded House debut album and Woodface must be equally objectionable by that standard, and as highlighted above this is how things have been done since 1996.
It’s coincidentally come full circle in a way because when Neil was announced as a member of Fleetwood Mac, there was a vocal “no Lindsey, no Fleetwood Mac, cover band” contingent blissfully ignoring the many incarnations of the band both before and also during Lindsey’s membership of the band.
I just think if you require a calculator to gauge how authentic/valid a record is, you're overthinking it and making it harder to fully appreciate.