Okay. Let's back track. I clearly recall Neil saying in an interview at the time of the release of Try Whistling This that his record company - Parlophone - had asked him to keep using the CH name even though he'd split the band. Neil acknowledged that this would be the most commercially sound thing to do but - in acknowledgement of the contribution of the other band members and the special rapport the band had with its audience - he didn't feel he could do that.
He was clearly acknowledging that CH wasn't just him and whoever he chose to work with at that time. As a huge fan of the band, I was immensely grateful to Neil for that decision and its why - all these years later - I have a hard time accepting the fact that he chose to classify recordings that weren't made while CH was active and only featured one other member as band recordings.
You're right that it doesn't have to include all the members or sound like them: if Crowded House were recording an album but decided that, on a particular song, it only needed, say, Neil and his piano - that's fine. But to make an entire solo record and then after the fact decide to call it a band record for no other reason than convenience isn't the same. It angered me then and it angers me now. I'm actually surprised that fans of the band can feel so blase about this.
If we accept TOE as a CH album, where do we draw the line? Could every album Neil has made be a CH album in our minds if he'd made a different decision back in 1998 and decided to keep using that name? For me, no.