Here's a quick rundown of how I install node.js in my development environments, which is currently Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS.
You can get previous versions of node.js from here: http://nodejs.org/dist/
wget the desired binaries to the directory of your choice, for me it's ~/devenv
Unzip and extract the binaries:
tar -zxvf node-v0.10.7-linux-x86.tar.gz
Create a symbolic link for node that points to the new directory
ln -s node-v0.10.7-linux-x86 node
Add the bin path to your profile using the editor of your choice (VIM for me)
Add the following line at the end of ~/.profile
That's all there is to it. To install a different version you simply pull down the new version and change the symbolic link!