This thread has a lot of healthy discussion I think, even though we don't all agree. There are so many criteria we might individually choose to answer this question.
I've been loving Start of Something, which is as gorgeous a track Neil's been involved with since the 00s. After listening to it for the third time in a row, it occurred to me, THIS is Crowded House to me. Not the song itself, but me finishing the track and thinking "that was catchy and beautiful and I want to hear it again." Of course I've felt that with a lot of music, but in a certain distinct way with Crowded House. I probably can't really verbalize it.
The way a band's music makes you feel is a fair enough definition I think, regardless of the actual sounds or lyrics or anything quantifiable. And for what it's worth, several songs on this album are giving me that feeling.
It's a good point you raise and I think it helps with the mindset of going into it.
For example, despite most of TOE being a solo project, the fact that it is branded Crowded House (and helped by Nick's bass throughout) makes it a Crowded House album.
If it had been a solo album, you would have come away with the feeling that is was his most CH sounding solo album.