Van Morrison: Too Long in Exile (Polygram). IS GOOD good enough? That's the question dogging Van Morrison's Too Long in Exile - whether ''Van the Man'' resting on his laurels, albeit beautifully, is as much as can be expected at this point in his career. The evidence would suggest otherwise. Yes, last year's Hymns to the Silence was a patchy disappointment, but before that Morrison had produced three masterful works: Enlightenment, Avalon Sunset and the magnificent Poetic Champions Compose. What made these albums great was both inspiration and a perfectionist's attention to detail, from the songwriting down through every nut and bolt in the arrangement. And while Too Long in Exile has its share of spark, it does lack a little in the dedication department. Take a song like Moody's Mood for Love, for instance. Remove Morrison's scat vocal and the backing tracks sound excruciatingly obvious, like the kind of light-weight jazz best suited to a piano lounge. Part of the problem here is Georgie Fame, Morrison's keyboardist and band leader. He is simply no match for a talent like Morrison. On the other hand, Too Long in Exile offers gems like Ball and Chain, a song which would sit comfortably on a Morrison classic like Tupelo Honey. Similarly, the spiritual Till We Get the Healing Done, without Morrison's occasional penchant for proselytising, is Morrison at his bluesy, contemplative best. Too Long in Exile also features its share of covers, notably a fine take of Ray Charles' Lonely Avenue. But the most interesting cover is Morrison covering himself. This is Gloria, the old Them hit, sung as a duet with John Lee Hooker. In concert, Morrison has been disposing of Gloria as a throwaway, but here the song takes on something of a new life, playfully interplaying Hooker's growl with Morrison's soul. The presence of Hooker would seem to be a reciprocation for Morrison having sung on I Cover the Waterfront on Hooker's Mr Lucky. And Hooker, to better effect, also sings on Wasted Years, a rumination on the wisdom of hindsight. But perhaps that is the mistake that Morrison is increasingly making, dwelling too much on the past instead of looking forward. Hopefully, he can work the nostalgia out of his system. Meanwhile, Too Long in Exile will do nicely.